Akbar Ahmed’s opinion on Imran Khan’s arrest

By Justice Markandey Katju-

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

Akbar Ahmed, the former Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, has given an interview to a German TV channel on former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest.


With great respect to Mr Akbar Ahmed, I submit he misses a central point: one must always remain sober, know one’s limits, and not take on confrontation with forces stronger than oneself, as Imran Khan did.

Everyone knows that the real power in Pakistan has almost throughout its existence been its army, either overtly when Pakistan was under martial law, or covertly when there was a figleaf of a civil democratic government.

Imran Khan was popular in Pakistan, as he was perceived by most Pakistanis as an honest man, compared to the ruling PDM leaders who were regarded as corrupt, and opinion polls indicated that he would win by a sweeping majority if elections were held.

However, this seems to have gone to his head, and he lost his sense of realities in Pakistan. Power grows out of the barrel of a gun, as an old dictum says, and in Pakistan, the gun is with the army. Evidently, Imran Khan, intoxicated by his popularity, forgot that, and he took on a confrontation with Pakistan’s army, accusing Maj Gen Naseer of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence ) of trying to kill him, making allegations against former army chief Gen Bajwa and others, etc, charges which the army strongly refuted.




Evidently, the army generals thought they had had enough, and got him arrested on the ostensible charge of corruption, though everyone knows the real reason.

This reminds me of an incident that happened when I was the Chief Justice of Madras High Court ( 2004-5 ).

One day a lawyer arguing a case started shouting at me.

I smiled and said that this reminds me of a story.

A man told his friend that his father was a very brave man as he once fought with a tiger.

His friend asked what happened then?

The man replied, ” What could happen ? The tiger tore him up and ate him up”.

I told the lawyer you are a very brave man, but I am a tiger. I will just now tear you up and eat you up.

Similarly, Imran Khan, being a very brave man, took a panga with the Pak army. The result can be seen.

As regards the protests in Pakistan over Imran Khan’s arrest, which Akbar Ahmed refers to, they will be soon dispersed, the way the Paris mob was dispersed by Napoleon’s troops in October 1795 on Vendemiare.



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