Embattled Pakistani ex-PM Khan speaks to RT (VIDEO)
A Pakistani court on Thursday granted temporary bail to former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, who faces terrorism charges. The ruling shields the politician from arrest until September 1, after which he will seek an extension to his bail.
Khan appeared live on RT after the ruling, dismissing the allegations against him as purely political and an obvious attempt to disqualify him from politics. Apart from terrorism charges, the former PM has faced a multitude of legal challenges over the past few months, including allegations of concealing assets, money laundering and receiving illegal funding for his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) from foreign nationals.
The country’s incumbent government “has lost all credibility and so it is compensating lack of credibility by imposing these draconian measures on us, they are clamping down on the media, they are clamping down against journalists,” Khan told RT.
The former premier firmly denied accusations of somehow inciting “terrorism,” explaining that the charges against him stem from his remarks on an alleged abduction, torture and sexual harassment of one of his close associates by the police. Khan said he merely vowed to take legal action over the alleged incident, and the comments were anything but terrorism incitement “in any sense of the word.” Still, the authorities are “so desperate that they made this into a terrorist case,” he claimed.
“They are trying to ban me from politics because there’s a case of contempt against me,” the former PM added.
Khan, ousted in April in a parliamentary vote of no confidence, said the new authorities have initially hoped that his popularity would dwindle after dismissal from office. While such a situation is a common occurrence in Pakistan – where no prime minister served a full term since the foundation of the country after the end of British imperial rule – Khan’s popularity has been only growing, the ex-PM insisted, citing mass demonstrations in support of him. He added that the kind of support he received from “millions of people” who took to the streets to back him was unprecedented in Pakistani history.
Khan said that on one hand he was glad that his court case won unprecedented public support for his party. “On the other hand, it’s a bad time in Pakistan because we’re descending into fascism. We have a government which has no credibility amongst the people,” he added, describing the current government as an “imported” one.
The ex-PM reiterated the allegations that his ousting was a “foreign-backed conspiracy.” Khan went on to claim possession of the transcript of a conversation between the Pakistani ambassador in Washington and the US Undersecretary of State, in which the senior US official threatened the diplomat that “unless I Imran Khan was removed as a prime minister, in a no-confidence motion that still wasn’t tabled as [of] yet, that there would be consequences for Pakistan.”
“And he cites the trip I took to Russia, he cites that as one of the reasons,” Khan noted.
The politician said he had presented this transcript before the Pakistani parliament and the country’s national security council “because it was blatant interference from outside.” He added that US embassy staff was meeting with members of his political party, apparently in a bid to convince them to betray their leader. The ousted prime minister concluded that the whole affair was nothing short of a “regime change” operation.