Murtaza Solangi, the Caretaker Information Minister, announced that the government intends to communicate with the editor of The Economist regarding an essay allegedly authored by imprisoned PTI founder Imran Khan.
Imran was convicted in the Toshakhana case on August 5, receiving a three-year sentence. Despite the Islamabad High Court suspending his sentence on August 28, he has continued to be detained due to other charges. A guest essay in The Economist on Thursday, attributed to Imran, suggested his skepticism about the feasibility of the upcoming elections. The article reiterated his claims that a change in leadership, influenced by pressure from the US government, resulted in a vote of no-confidence against him. It also characterized the May 9 riots as a pre-planned “false-flag operation.”
However, an editor’s note appended to the essay clarified that both the Pakistan government and the US State Department denied allegations of American interference, asserting that he was being prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. Although sources within the party were cautious about commenting on how the writing made its way to the publication from inside prison, they affirmed that the words were indeed Imran’s. While some observers raised doubts about the authenticity of the article being attributed to Imran, many pointed out that the tone and content aligned with his known views. In response to the recent development, Solangi stated, “We are reaching out to The Economist’s editor regarding an article purportedly authored by Imran Khan.”
Solangi, a former journalist, expressed confusion and concern over a reputable media outlet publishing an article under the name of an incarcerated and convicted individual. Emphasizing the importance of upholding ethical standards and endorsing responsible journalism, he sought clarification on the editorial decision-making process. Solangi inquired about the criteria used by The Economist to assess the legitimacy and credibility of the content. Additionally, he raised the question of whether The Economist has a history of publishing articles authored by imprisoned politicians globally. The information minister suggested that if incarcerated individuals had the liberty to contribute to the media, they might exploit the opportunity to present biased perspectives on their grievances.
Today, we are writing to the Editor of @TheEconomist about an article purportedly written by Mr. Imran Khan. 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.
We believe… pic.twitter.com/iU5UlbGMMv
— Murtaza Solangi (@murtazasolangi) January 5, 2024
Imran expresses reservations about the impending February 8 election, casting doubt on its occurrence and contending that if it does take place, it would be disastrous and a mockery. He points to an alleged denial of the PTI’s fundamental campaigning rights, accusing the establishment, including the army, security agencies, and civil bureaucracy, of creating an unfair playing field. Imran criticizes the Pakistan Democratic Government for what he perceives as its detrimental economic performance, holding it responsible for wrecking the economy and triggering unprecedented inflation and currency devaluation within just 18 months.
Imran contends that the establishment has actively worked against him and his party, citing instances such as two assassination attempts, abductions, incarcerations, and torture of PTI members and social media activists.
Despite facing these challenges, he maintains that his party remains popular. Imran also scrutinizes the credibility of the courts, particularly in the swift exoneration of PML-N’s Nawaz Sharif. He alleges that Nawaz has struck a deal with the establishment, securing its support for acquittal and the upcoming elections.
After his removal from office, Imran initially had a significant international media presence, which dwindled after his incarceration. Nevertheless, the PTI has adopted unconventional methods, such as AI-generated addresses, to convey his message. Imran has taken the step of writing to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, seeking protection for the party’s fundamental rights.