British-American journalist and best-selling author Mehdi Hasan earlier interviewed PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, from whom he asked tough questions.
Before welcoming Imran Khan, Mehdi Hasan broke down why Americans should care about the political turmoil in Pakistan. He then talked about the intense crackdown against Imran Khan and his supporters.
Addressing Imran Khan, Mehdi Hasan started the interview by asking his views about the current state of democracy and freedom of human rights in Pakistan. The PTI Chairman answered by saying that Pakistan was moving towards a democratic system; however, today it is witnessing a complete “dismantling of democracy.”
“Rule of law, democracy, and prosperity go hand in hand. When you do not have rule of law, which is what is happening now, there is an undeclared martial law in Pakistan, then there is darkness ahead,” Imran Khan said.
Mehdi Hasan then asked Imran Khan about how on the one hand, he is urging the US government to speak in the name of democracy and human rights, yet he also blamed the US for hatching a conspiracy against his ouster.
At this, Imran Khan narrated how his government received a cipher warning of consequences if he remained in office, and then shortly after, the vote of no confidence took place.
“I merely stated the facts,” Imran Khan said while adding that he wants the US to worry about the 250 million people living in Pakistan, where there is an “undeclared martial law” and should speak against it.
"What's happening right now is a total dismantling of our democracy… we are standing on the edge of darkness."
The full interview will be on YouTube soon.pic.twitter.com/X5o0OyuDp0
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) July 3, 2023
Moving on, Mehdi Hasan asked whether Imran Khan believes that if elections are held on time in October this year, his “besieged party” can still win and that he can still become prime minister again.
“Surely, that’s a pipe dream now,” Mehdi Hasan said. In response, Imran Khan said that after his ouster, out of the 37 by-elections, 30 had been swept away by his party despite the “total support of the establishment to the 12-party coalition”.
Imran Khan was also asked about his criticism of the military despite being on good terms with them in the past, to which he explained that the military has directly or indirectly ruled Pakistan for 70 years. So whoever does politics has to work with them.
“When I came to power in 2018, it wasn’t because the military engineered to get me the part; they didn’t oppose me. Big difference,” Imran Khan said. He also said that he worked well with the army chief, but the main problem was that he wasn’t interested in ending corruption, and Imran Khan acknowledged his failure regarding this.
Imran Khan was then asked about the comparisons between the incumbent government’s media crackdown and the PTI government. At this, Imran Khan said that his time in office cannot be compared to what is happening now.