Pak govt to write to UK publication over article attributed to imprisoned Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has said it will approach a British media outlet over the publication of a scathing write-up attributed to jailed former premier Imran Khan, as it questioned its editorial judgement and the credibility of the content. The write-up was published in The Economist on Thursday with the title ‘Imran Khan warns that Pakistan elections could be a farce’.
Raising serious doubts over whether the scheduled February 8 polls in Pakistan will be held as announced, Khan in the write-up reiterated his “engineered” removal from power in 2022 by the establishment “under pressure from America” and the lack of “level playing field” in the elections.
The write-up has already been denied both by the Pakistan government and the US Department of State.
The 71-year-old founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party is incarcerated at the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, convicted in the Toshakhana corruption case and being tried under multiple other cases.
Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi on Friday said the government will be writing to the editor of the British publication The Economist in connection with an essay attributed to incarcerated Khan, the Dawn newspaper reported.
“We are writing to the editor of The Economist about an article purportedly written by Imran Khan,” Solangi said.
It is puzzling and disconcerting that such an esteemed media outlet published an article in the name of an individual who is in jail and has been convicted, he said.
“We believe it is critically essential to uphold ethical standards and promote responsible journalism,” the paper quoted Solangi, a former journalist, as saying.
“We would like to know how the editorial decision was made, and what considerations were taken into account regarding the legitimacy and credibility of the content by The Economist,” he said.
“We would also be interested to know if The Economist has ever published such ghost articles by jailed politicians ever from any other part of the world. If jailed convicts were free to write to the media, they would always use the opportunity to air their one-sided grievances,” the minister said.
Khan in his piece also reiterated his allegations about how a regime change brought about after US government pressure led to a vote of no-confidence against him and described the May 9 riots as a “false-flag operation” which was “pre-planned”.
The Dawn newspaper also reported that while sources within Khan’s party were hesitant to comment on how the writing may have been relayed to the publication from inside prison, they had insisted that the words were indeed those of Khan.
Some observers had expressed doubts over whether the article was indeed written by Khan but many noted that the tone and content of the article was consistent with his views.
While expressing fears that the election scheduled for February 8 may not take place at all, the article in question Khan stated that even if they do, such polls would be a “disaster and a farce since PTI is being denied its basic right to campaign”.
“Whether elections happen or not, the manner in which I and my party have been targeted… has made one thing clear: the establishment – the army, security agencies and the civil bureaucracy – is not prepared to provide any playing field at all, let alone a level one, for PTI,” he said.
Khan also criticised the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government’s performance, saying it “destroyed the economy, bringing about unprecedented inflation and a currency devaluation within 18 months”.
He hit out at the courts, who in his words “seem to be losing credibility daily”, referring to the easy exoneration of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party chief and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Khan alleged that it is his belief that Nawaz “has struck a deal with the establishment whereby it will support his acquittal and throw its weight behind him in the upcoming elections”.
After his removal from office in April 2022, Khan went on an international media blitz and appeared on several major global media outlets, but this stopped after his incarceration, as access to the PTI chairman became limited to his lawyers and family members.
However in recent months, the party has found unconventional ways to deliver his message: at a recent virtual rally, an AI-generated address was delivered in Khan’s voice.
He recently wrote to Chief Justice Qazi Faez Esa, requesting the top judge to protect the party’s fundamental rights, according to the Dawn report. Source

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