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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

This Prisoner is No Dr. Manette

Khan is now no longer a person, he has become an idea, representing honesty, truth, and commitment to the people's welfare.

Those who have imprisoned former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan in a tiny dirty, dingy cell in Attock jail think he will end up like Dr Manette in the Bastille (see Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities‘), who even forgot his name during his captivity, and only knew himself as 105 North Tower.

Dr Manette was a medical doctor by profession, but during his captivity he was reduced to becoming a cobbler, and that is what Imran Khan’s captors think they will eventually make him. Imran Khan bravely stood up for integrity, transparency, and accountability in public life, and civilian control over the armed forces, which are regarded the worst crimes in Pakistan. Hence he had to suffer the consequences.

 

He is being held incommunicado ( except for short visits by his wife and lawyers ) in a tiny, dingy, bug infested cell with no bed, open bathroom, and few facilities, thinking that will soon break his will.

Evidently his incarcerators do not know the man. He is no Dr Manette, and they have no idea of his grit, fortitude, dauntless spirit, and gumption, and what metal he is made of.

Read More: Deliverance from Disorder?

The man who believed in fighting until the last ball, who led a ramshackle underdog Pakistan cricket team to victory in the 1992 World Cup, who could have spent the rest of his life comfortably in England with his millionaire wife, but whose disgust at what was happening to his country (which was being looted by the Sharifs and Zardaris) brought him back to start a new political party, the PTI, in 1996 to fight corruption, which after 22 years hard struggle he led to power in 2018, the man who set up Pakistan’s first cancer hospital Shaukat Khanum, the man who wanted ‘haqeeqi aqadi’ for Pakistan, and after his perfidious and Machiavellian ouster from power bravely led the people against the fascist reign of terror unleashed by the Pakistan Establishment— can such a man’s courage and spirit be crushed by mere incarceration?

Read More: Imran Khan in Jail

Imran Khan has repeatedly said he will continue living in Pakistan, and not fly abroad like the corrupt Nawaz Sharif ( who was convicted by the Pakistan Supreme Court ). He has no assets abroad, unlike PDM leaders, whose names appear in the Panama Papers, and other credible material.

Earlier, 70% Pakistanis supported Khan (according to opinion polls in Pakistan and the by elections results). But now the number has drastically risen, and is reaching 90%. This means about 220 million out of the 240 million Pakistanis support Imran Khan.

Imran Khan is now no longer a person, he has become an idea in Pakistan, representing honesty, truth, and commitment to the people’s welfare. Even if he is imprisoned or physically eliminated, the idea will live on, like the ghost of Caesar after his assassination.

Markandey Katju is an Indian jurist and former Supreme Court judge of India who served as chairman for the Press Council of India. He has also worked as Standing Counsel for the Income Tax Department.