Pakistan no-confidence vote: Imran Khan and his trusted aides explore escape routes

Whether Imran Khan, like Nawaz Sharif and Parvez Musharraf, goes to London where his first wife Jemima Goldsmith and their sons live, one will have to wait and see.
Pakistan PM Imran Khan (Photo | AP)
Pakistan PM Imran Khan (Photo | AP)

NEW DELHI: As Pakistan’s Parliament prepares to begin proceedings of a no-confidence vote tomorrow, trusted aides of Prime Minister Imran Khan have begun to flee the country.

The first to go was Farah Khan. She was Imran Khan’s present and third wife, Bushra Bibi’s most trusted aide. It has been alleged that she brokered deals on their behalf and sent the Khans a percentage of the profit. She flew out to Dubai with her husband two days back, and photos on social media showed her carrying a bag worth $90,000.

The other two who are likely to leave include Shabaz Gill and Faisal Vadwa.

While Shahbaz Gill is a special assistant to the Prime Minister, Faisal Vadwa, was the Minister of Water Resources.

Both have dual citizenships and are likely to leave Pakistan at the earliest. Shahbaz does not have a political portfolio but exercises a lot of clout. Vadwa was stripped of his post as people with dual citizenship are forbidden by law in Pakistan to run for public office, sit in Parliament, contest elections or join the army.

Chances of Imran Khan losing the no-confidence motion are high, following which serious charges of corruption are likely to be levelled against him. Sources say that his escape from Pakistan too seems imminent. Whether he, like Nawaz Sharif and Parvez Musharraf, goes to London where his first wife Jemima Goldsmith and their sons live, one will have to wait and see.

Sources say that Imran Khan’s exit could also enable former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan. Imran Khan’s fallout with army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa is one of the reasons for his downfall. This began in 2021 over the appointment of the next ISI chief.

Bajwa wanted to appoint Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum replacing Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as the new chief. Imran Khan held on to the appointment for over 21 days.

Imran didn’t want to replace Hameed as he was instrumental in Imran’s electoral victory. Imran’s reluctance didn’t go well with Bajwa. Recently both made contrasting views on the US. Imran had been advocating independent foreign policy for sometime which led to Pakistan drifting away from the US. His visit to Russia wasn’t taken well. Pakistan’s military establishment benefits from US grants, so this didn’t go well with Bajwa.

Just a few days back Bajwa said that Pakistan had a long and excellent relationship with the US and how UK and EU were vital to Pakistan’s interest. Imran Khan had alleged that a `foreign’ (read US) hand was instrumental in destabilising him.

It is no secret that Pakistan is managed and controlled by the army. If there is a fallout with the army, the stepping down of the politician becomes imminent.

The only way for Imran Khan to survive would be by opting for an escape route. Many would recall what happened to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. After being deposed in a military coup in 1977 by his appointed army chief, General Zia ul Haq, he was tried and executed for authorising of a murder of a political opponent in 1979.

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