Will the truth finally set Imran Khan free?

Imran Khan is finally propagating the version of events that will likely land him in prison, but can also potentially set him free.
Published March 20, 2023

When Maryam Nawaz was campaigning for her father’s release in 2018, I expressed that to truly elicit support from the general public, she would have to tell the truth. That telling the whole truth — as opposed to what just suited her narrative — would set her family free.

She would have to accept that her family’s financial dealings may not have been completely kosher, admit that the Calibri trust deed justifying the movement of her family’s assets was a shoddily concocted fraud. She would then have to follow this up by arguing that Nawaz was removed from power not for those reasons, but because of his having fallen out again with the establishment — which, more or less, the father and daughter have stated on various occasions since.

She would have had to put her trust in the electorate, that they would see the forest for the trees. If she had told the whole truth, it would have allowed her to take on the establishment without compromises that became the PML-N’s undoing soon thereafter.

Web of lies

I recently bought a bootleg copy of Waris to rewatch a drama I had seen snippets of on YouTube. The entire intricate story is made possible due to deceit and treachery. Every character has an internal conflict, leading them to weave webs of deceit around themselves.

If any of the main characters had been fully expressive and truthful rather than weaving webs within webs, none of the intricate plot lines would have been possible. And they would not have been necessary. If anyone in Waris had taken stock of their lives and told the full truth that was known to them at any point within its timeline, it would have ripped the web holding them in place. It would have set them free.

The same is true for today’s politics. One of the greatest injustices perpetrated upon lawyers who are asked to comment on television regarding Imran Khan and the recent attempts to arrest him, is that they are asked questions of the law.

This stopped being about the law a long time ago.

The latest in the supposed use of the law is that the PTI is going to be branded a terrorist party. This in a country where it took months to proscribe a political party that had held the entire country hostage through violent protests, only for the ban to be lifted in a few months.

Path to freedom

Amid all the chaos, Imran said something on Twitter that puts him in the direction of the truth, setting him free. After months of his party hinting at a London plan that involved machinations between different politicians, Imran finally painted a bigger and more coherent picture, filling in the blanks left out by his minions.

He tweeted what has hitherto been whispered about — that there was a senior partner to the London plan. He tweeted about the quid pro quo agreement between the parties that made the plan make sense. He reminded us that no London plan, past or present, is really complete without a partner from Pindi.

By making this allegation, Imran has finally taken the fight directly to the public servant whose appointment he made overtly controversial. He has finally dropped the garb of friendliness and stopped resorting to whataboutery. In a post-truth media environment, and perhaps as a last resort with elections still uncertain and legal battles rising, he is propagating the version of events that will likely land him in prison, but can also potentially set him absolutely free.

The biggest fear of our unelected power brokers has always been exposure. Like the photographic film upon which they once stored the secrets of other people’s private lives, exposure is lethal.

It is this exposure that Imran Khan is now threatening, which the PML-N so briefly hinted at and capitulated immediately thereafter by way of the Bajwa extension.

What is lethal to the way they operate is not something they will take lightly. This is a fight to the finish. A fight to the end of unelected hegemony.

In video games, you get to choose your champions; in real life, they are thrust upon you. They are often flawed, selfish and hypocritical. But you take what you get, because on the other end, you have a continuous cycle where your country gets poorer, more dangerous and less liveable.

Enough of the fictional dramas. It’s time for real democracy.