Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, while speaking to journalists in Lahore on Wednesday, claimed that he had no decision-making authority during his three-and-half years as prime minister, though he did not clarify who this power rested with.
Running the country was supposed to be my responsibility, he said, but “orders were coming from somewhere else.” Claiming that if he had enjoyed “complete authority,” his rule could have competed with the reign of Sher Shah Suri—founder of India’s Suri empire—he alleged that these “rulers” had prevented him from achieving his dream of a Naya Pakistan.
“Our hands were tied,” he continued. “We were blackmailed from everywhere. Power wasn’t with us. Everyone knows where the power lies in Pakistan so we had to rely on them,” he said, without specifically naming who he was accusing of wielding the power. “We relied on them all the time,” he said. “They did a lot of good things too but they didn’t do many things that should’ve been done. They have the power because they control institutions such as NAB, which wasn’t in our control,” he said, hinting he was referring to the security establishment.
According to Khan, all responsibility and authority should lay with the prime minister to ensure balance between a strong Army and strong government. He accused the “handlers”—who he has earlier claimed were instrumental in ensuring the PTI’s various pieces of legislation passed—of “damaging the country more than its enemies” by allowing “looters”—his euphemism for his political rivals—to escape accountability.
Curiously, Khan’s remarks appear to justify his opponents’ allegations of him being little more than a “puppet P.M.” The repeated accusations were often met with loud condemnations and denials from the PTI, including Khan, when the party was in power. Then-science and technology minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain had gone so far as to describe the criticisms as “irrational.”