Imran Khan claims top ISI officer was involved in senior journalist's murder

"ISI's maj. gen. Faisal Naseer tried to kill me twice. He is also involved in the killing of (TV anchor) Arshad Sharif. He also stripped my party senator Azam Swati naked and tortured him," Khan said

Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan
Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan


Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan has alleged that top ISI officer Major-General Faisal Naseer, who tried to kill him twice, was also involved in the brutal murder of senior journalist Arshad Sharif.

Khan's remarks came while he was addressing a rally in Lahore from his bullet-bomb-proof vehicle. The rally was telecast live in other cities through a video link.

"Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)'s Major-General Faisal Naseer tried to kill me twice. He is also involved in the killing of (TV anchor) Arshad Sharif. He also stripped my party Senator Azam Swati naked and inflicted severe torture on him," Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Khan said.

Arshad Sharif, who was critical of the Army, was killed in Kenya last October as he fled the country citing threats to his life from the security agencies.

The shooting dead of the investigative journalist by police in Kenya caused outrage in Pakistan.

Kenya's police, in an initial report, had said the 49-year-old was shot dead in a moving vehicle in a case of mistaken identity.

Khan, 71, had earlier accused Gen Naseer along with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah of an assassination attempt on his life in November last year in Punjab province's Wazirabad wherein he received three bullets in his leg.

"This man (Gen Naseer) has been involved in atrocities against my party persons for the last 20 months but no one at his institution is bothered about it. No person who loves Pakistan can do what this man is doing," the cricketer-turned-politician said, indirectly asking incumbent Army Chief General Asim Munir why he does not take action against this ISI personnel.

The PTI chief asked the nation to come out on roads against the 'mafia rulers and their handlers (elements in the military establishment)'.

"Despite these murder plans, I am protesting on the roads for the sake of this country. It is your duty to join me because it is not politics but jehad -- fight for real freedom is never politics," he said.

Khan said his party will organise rallies from next week till May 14 to demand elections in Punjab.

He said if the Sup reme Court is defied, the Consti tution will collapse. "It means the end of the rule of law and the beginning of the law of the jungle. We will not let it happen," Khan stressed.

The ousted premier also questioned what Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was doing in the UK.

Shehbaz Sharif travelled to the UK to attend the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

"Shehbaz is there because his wealth is stashed away in Britain. His kids are abroad. This country is only a ruling pastime for the family," Khan said.

He also lambasted Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for visiting India to attend a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Khan asked what benefit was gained from the trip to India.

"Pakistan is humiliated in the world," he said.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar mounted an offensive against Bhutto-Zardari in his address at the SCO meeting, contending Pakistan foreign minister's statement that terrorism shouldn't be "weaponised for diplomatic point-scoring", in remarks seen as directed at India.

Hours later at a press conference, Jaishankar said Bhutto-Zardari's statement on the weaponisation of terrorism unconsciously revealed a mindset.

Jaishankar accused him of being a "promoter, justifier and a spokesperson of a terror industry".

"As a foreign minister of an SCO member state, Bhutto-Zardari was treated accordingly. As a promoter, justifier and a spokesperson of a terrorism industry, which is the mainstay of Pakistan, his positions were called out and they were countered including at the SCO meeting itself," Jaishankar said.

Khan criticised Jaishankar for his remarks and said: "Pakistan's foreign minister should have calculated the cost-benefit ratio before embarking on this diplomatically risky journey."

Bhutto-Zardari has however termed his visit a "success" as he advocated his country's case on the soil of India.

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