"Pesky" Politics Of Pakistan: A Timeline Of Events That Led To The Political Chaos And Assassination Attempt

Swarajya Staff

Nov 08, 2022, 10:59 AM | Updated 04:14 PM IST

Imran Khan (Getty Images) 
Imran Khan (Getty Images) 
  • How did Pakistan Army's favourite politician turn against it?
  • Here's a brief timeline of events.
  • Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan Niazi accused his successor of involvement in a plot to kill him, as he recovered in hospital from gunshot wounds following an assassination attempt.

    Khan told reporters that Shehbaz Sharif, who replaced him as Premier following a vote of no-confidence in April, was involved in a plot that included Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Director-General(DG) of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Major General Faisal Naseer. 

    "These three decided to kill me," Mr Khan said in his first public appearance since Thursday's (3 November) attack, adding that two gunmen were involved.

    The government has denied any part in the assassination.

    We take a look at the timeline of what led Pakistan to this chaos. 

    1996: Imran Khan launches his own political party named Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which means ‘Movement for Justice’. 

    2002: His party wins one seat and he becomes a member of the National Assembly. 

    2007: He is imprisoned briefly for criticising the regime of former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf.

    2013: Khan starts getting traction and vows to transform Pakistan into ‘Naya Pakistan’ — a country free of corruption. 

    August 2018: Khan becomes Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan after leading his party to victory in the general elections. He defeated Pakistan Muslim League (PML)-N PM candidate Shehbaz Sharif, who is now the PM of Pakistan. 

    8 March 2022: Pakistan's opposition leaders say they have no-confidence in Imran Khan’s government and submit a motion against him. 

    20 March: Speaker calls National Assembly members for a session on 25 March to take up no-confidence motion. 

    23 March: Khan stays defiant and says he will not resign, although people backing his party stop supporting him.

    25 March: National Assembly session is adjourned without the introduction of no-confidence motion.

    27 March: Whilst addressing a crowded rally in Islamabad, Khan claims foreign powers behind 'conspiracy' to overthrow his government. Claims that foreign powers do not want a leader in Pakistan who thinks about the national interest of Pakistan. 

    28 March: PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif tables no-trust motion against Imran Khan in the National Assembly. 

    30 March: Khan loses majority after key people backing him side with opposition ahead of no-trust vote on 3 April. 

    31 March: National Assembly meets to table no-confidence motion against Khan. 

    3 April morning: Much to the chagrin of the opposition, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri blocks no-trust motion and abruptly ends session. 

    3 April evening: Imran Khan advises Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi to dissolve the National Assembly and the President does that. Imran addresses the people of Pakistan, urging them to get ready for general elections.

    7 April: Supreme Court (SC) strikes down deputy speaker’s decision to block no-trust vote. SC also orders restoration of the National Assembly and for the no-confidence motion to be held on 9 April. 

    9 April: Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan loses the no-confidence vote, becoming the first PM in Pakistan to lose it. 

    20 August: Imran Khan starts attacking the Army for his ouster and accuses them of corruption and collusion with foreign powers. Pakistan’s electronic media regulator announces a ban on the live airing of Khan's speeches because of alleged "hate speech" against state institutions i.e. criticism of the army.

    25 August: Khan is charged with “terrorism,” “contempt of court,” and “unlawful assembly”, for his speeches, that were now prohibited from being aired on television. 

    He is granted protective bail until 1 September and is asked to re-appear before the trial court. 

    21 October: Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan for gross corrupt practices. The case became known as the Toshkhana case. Imran Khan is accused of selling gifts he received from foreign leaders when he was in the office of PM.

    The Election Commission bars him from contesting elections or holding public office for 5 years. Khan’s supporters cry foul.

    25 October: In protest against the Election Commission’s decision, Khan calls on his supporters to join the “largest long march in the country’s history” from the eastern city of Lahore to Islamabad to demand early elections in Pakistan. 

    28 October: Khan starts a 380-km “long march” from Liberty Square in Lahore to Islamabad, with a target of reaching the capital city by 11 November. 

    3 November: Khan survives an assassination attempt in the city of Wazirabad, whilst leading his ‘long march’ to the capital city of Islamabad, to demand snap elections. Suffers a bullet injury to his leg. 

    4 November: Khan addresses the nation after surviving the assassination attempt. Says he knew about ‘their’ plan to attack me. Blames the DG of ISI Major General Faisal Naseer and PM Shehbaz Sharif for an attempt on his life, asserting that they planned it. 

    5 November: Pakistan’s army rejects Khan’s assertions as “baseless and irresponsible”.

    “No one will be allowed to defame the institution or its soldiers with impunity. Keeping this in view, the government of Pakistan has been requested to investigate the matter and initiate legal action against those responsible for defamation and false accusations against the institution and its officials without any evidence whatsoever,” reads a statement by the Army.

    6 November: Imran Khan is discharged from the hospital and returns to his home. His party announces that they will resume the “long march” from Wednesday (9 November)

    Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) announces a ban on Imran Khan’s speeches or press conferences.

    The Vice Chairman of PTI and former Pakistan minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says, “It is a matter of honour for me that I will lead this convoy to Pindi from where Chairman Imran Khan himself will perform the duties of leadership.” 

    7 November: Imran Khan writes a letter to Pakistan’s President, naming DG of ISI Major General Faisal Naseer and the PM of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif as people responsible for planning an attack on his life. Khan tells the President to prevent the abuse of power by state’s institutions. 

    Police in Punjab reportedly refused to file an First Information Report (FIR) because the head of Pakistan’s Army, General Bajwa apparently warned people against naming DG of ISI in the FIR, although he said that Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif’s name can be mentioned. 

    The Supreme Court of Pakistan orders the IG of Punjab police to file the FIR, adding that if the FIR is not filed, the court will take suo-moto action. 

    "We have spoken to the Punjab Chief Minister regarding the registration of the FIR and he has expressed some reservations," says the Inspector General of Punjab police to the Supreme Court, the reservations being the unwillingness to name DG of ISI.

    "IG sahib, you do your job. If someone interferes, the court would interfere in their work,” says the Pakistan Supreme Court. 

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