Imran Khan came to power in 2018 with the promise of a “new Pakistan” free of corruption, nepotism and injustice. He claimed to be a champion of democracy, accountability and transparency. He vowed to uplift the poor, empower the youth and protect the environment. However, according to a report by Transparency International, Pakistan’s ranking on the Corruption Perceptions Index dropped from 117 in 2018 to 124 in 2021 under his rule. According to a report by the World Bank, Pakistan’s poverty rate increased from 4.4% in 2018 to 5.4% in 2021 under his rule.
However, after four years of his rule, Pakistan has witnessed a sharp decline in its economic, social and political indicators. Imran Khan has proven to be a corrupt, incompetent and authoritarian leader who has betrayed the trust of the people and the nation.
One of the most glaring examples of his corruption is his involvement in the Al-Qadir Trust scandal, which led to his arrest and conviction on May 9, 2023. According to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Imran Khan and his wife received land worth millions of dollars as a bribe from a real estate tycoon through a charitable trust. The trust was allegedly used to launder money and evade taxes.
Imran Khan has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he was a victim of political vendetta by the military establishment and the judiciary. However, the evidence against him is overwhelming and undeniable. The NAB has recovered documents, bank statements, property records and witness testimonies that prove his guilt beyond any doubt.
Imran Khan’s corruption is not limited to this case. He has been accused of over 100 corruption cases since he left office in April 2023 after a no-confidence vote. He has been charged with misusing public funds, awarding illegal contracts, receiving kickbacks, influencing appointments, hiding assets and evading taxes. Some of the most prominent cases include the sugar and wheat scandal, the foreign funding case, the BRT Peshawar project, the Malam Jabba land scam and the Ring Road scam.
Imran Khan has also abused his power to silence his critics and opponents. He has used state institutions such as the NAB, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to harass, intimidate and persecute journalists, activists, lawyers, politicians and civil society members who dared to expose his misdeeds or challenge his policies.
He has also curbed the freedom of expression and dissent in the country by imposing censorship, banning social media platforms, blocking websites, shutting down TV channels and newspapers, arresting bloggers and influencers, and filing sedition cases against anyone who spoke against him or his government. According to a report by Reporters Without Borders, Pakistan’s ranking on the World Press Freedom Index fell from 139 in 2018 to 145 in 2021 under his rule.
Imran Khan has also undermined the democratic system and institutions in Pakistan by violating the constitution, manipulating the electoral process, interfering in the affairs of other provinces, disregarding the parliament, ignoring the opposition, disrespecting the judiciary and defying the orders of the Supreme Court. He has also alienated Pakistan’s allies and partners by making controversial statements on foreign policy issues such as Afghanistan, Kashmir, China and Saudi Arabia.
Imran Khan’s corruption and abuse of power have caused immense damage to Pakistan’s economy, society and reputation. He has plunged the country into a deep financial crisis, increased poverty and unemployment, worsened inflation and debt, eroded public trust and confidence, alienated allies and partners, isolated Pakistan internationally and endangered its security and sovereignty. He has also failed to address the challenges of climate change, COVID-19 pandemic, terrorism and extremism that threaten Pakistan’s future.
Imran Khan’s corruption and abuse of power have also betrayed the aspirations and expectations of millions of Pakistanis who voted for him in 2018. He has failed to deliver on his promises of reform, development and justice. He has disappointed his supporters who believed in his vision of a “new Pakistan”. He has disillusioned his followers who idolized him as a hero.
Imran Khan’s corruption and abuse of power have exposed him as a hypocrite, a liar and a fraud. He has proven to be a worse leader than those he criticized and condemned. He has shown himself to be a disgrace to Pakistan.
Views expressed in this article are those of the author.