Pakistan’s Imran Khan Compares His Ouster To CIA Coup In Iran
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister likened the US-backed parliamentary coup that removed him from power in April 2022 to the violent CIA operation that overthrew Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953.
The CIA-organized coup “was a very similar pattern followed in when my government was dismissed,” Khan said.
He likewise praised Iran’s independence today, stating that Western sanctions means that “the people of Iran might have suffered, but they haven’t lost their dignity.”
Khan added that, while Pakistan and Iran may have some differences, “you cannot disagree with them standing for their sovereignty. So I admire that about them.”
As prime minister, during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Khan publicly called on the United States to lift its illegal sanctions on Iran, arguing, “It is very unjust they are dealing with such a large outbreak on one side, and on the other they are facing international sanctions.”
Since his ouster, Pakistan’s unelected, US-backed coup regime has hit Khan with baseless “terror” charges, violently repressed protests, banned public broadcasts of his speeches, and arrested dissidents for criticizing it on social media.
Prominent journalists who exposed the corruption of the coup regime, like Arshad Sharif, were killed in mysterious circumstances.
A gunman even tried to assassinate Khan, shooting him in the leg at a rally in November.
Khan made these comments likening the coup against him to the CIA putsch against Mossadegh, and commending Iran for its independence, in a December 28 interview with the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), a think tank based in Istanbul, Türkiye.
In the discussion, Khan stressed the supreme importance of sovereignty, saying “a sovereign country is the key for me to success.”
He criticized the US-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF) for limiting the sovereignty of developing nations like Pakistan.
Khan also emphasized that he will always support the struggle of the Palestinian people and would never recognize Israel.
Imran Khan praises Iran’s independence
Khan said of Iran in the interview:
Well, in Iran, during Mohammad Mossadegh’s premiership, his government was removed, and this is now documented, it was removed by the CIA. And it was because an independent-minded prime minister took over Iran, and wanted to make policies for the interest of the people of Iran. And so we all know what happened to him.
There was, first of all, there was this campaign of propaganda campaign against him in the media. Then the opposition parties were paid to do demonstrations against the government of Prime Minister Mossadegh. And then his own party members were given money to change party affiliation. And eventually it was finally the army which removed him.
So it was a very similar pattern followed in when my government was dismissed.
But, you know, let me just talk about Iran. I find that it is most important for a country to live with dignity and self-respect. I mean, that for me is the most important thing.
You know, we Muslims, our oath with the Almighty is “La ilaha illa Allah” – “There is no god but Allah.” It gives us dignity, self-respect. We are not supposed to bow in front of anyone but the Almighty.
And the Muslim countries, when they become subservient or when they become blind states, when they lose their dignity.
Unfortunately, in Pakistan, we have suffered from this. I have found that Pakistan’s foreign policy, the vast majority of the people of Pakistan have found it very undignified, because we have relied on aid, and we stretch our hands, and we get money.
Or we fight other people’s war, and then we participate, a lot of our own people die in this, and we do it for foreign aid or US dollars. And I think it has consequences for our society.
Number one, the society never learns to stand on its own feet, because only when you stand on your own feet do you realize your strength. But when you are always having crutches of foreign aid, just because you are trying to serve someone else’s foreign-policy objectives, you lose your dignity.
And for me, the people of Iran might have suffered, but they haven’t lost their dignity.
They, you know, we will disagree with maybe what their world view is. We might disagree with the world view of Islam. But you cannot disagree with them standing for their sovereignty. So I admire that about them.
Imran Khan calls for sovereignty, criticizes IMF
Later in the discussion, Khan reiterated similar comments about the supreme importance of sovereignty:
Eventually, a country has to be sovereign.
I believe that a country must stand its own feet, have dignity and self-respect, and that’s what gives it strength. because you rely on your own resources.
A human being that walks on crutches, his legs will waste away. The bigger the weight we lift, it strengthens us. Same with human societies.
If you start depending on aid, which we have, and if you depend on foreign loans and the IMF, you would never really learn how to stand on your own feet.
So a sovereign country is the key for me to success.
Imran Khan criticizes Western colonialism
Khan argued that developing countries are still recovering from the harms of European colonialism:
You see, the problem most of the developing world, or what you call the ex colonies, all of us, the problems we faced are the same. We have struggled to establish rule of law, justice. I mean, justice means rule of law. Rule of law means that everyone is equal before the law. And when you have colonialism, basically the colonials are above law.
And in Pakistan, unfortunately, and like most of the developing, like most of the ex-colonial countries, when they got their independence, the rulers mostly took the role of the colonizers, and they put themselves above law.
And so when you do not have rule of law, corruption becomes one of the biggest symptoms of the lack of rule of law, because the powerful elite goes above law.
And when they start making money, the state institutions cannot check the corruption. And that’s how countries become poor, not because of lack of resources, but the corruption of the ruling elite that bankrupts countries.
And that’s the case with almost the entire developing world. It’s certainly the case with Pakistan. We suffer because, after colonialism, either we had military dictatorship, half the time we were ruled by military dictators – and military dictators, clearly, when they when they take over a country, when they decide to impose martial law, they break the constitution. It’s against the constitution and the rule of law.
But unfortunately, when we’ve had civilian government, so called democratic government, they also have put themselves above law, which is why they have been able to make so much money through corruption and take the money abroad.
And it’s the same story in almost all the developing world. What you have in the developing countries are the ruling elites siphoning off money and taking it abroad.
You know, the problem about the Muslim world is that we are still evolving. We are coming out of colonialism; we haven’t found our feet. Our education system lags behind. We don’t have a great many scholars who can direct us. We have a split.
We have the Westernized elites in the Muslim world who have moved quite far away from the religion and don’t understand much about it. And then we have a lot of conservatives who do not understand the Western thought.
Imran Khan reaffirms support for Palestine, refusal to recognize Israel
Khan reaffirmed his strong support for Palestine and reiterated that he would never recognize Israel:
The founder of Pakistan [Muhammad Ali Jinnah], whom we call Quaid-e-Azam, the “Great Leader,” you know, he in 1948 gave a statement on Palestine, and he spoke about the injustice which was being done to the people of Palestine.
And he was very clear that Pakistan would not accept or would not recognize Israel as long as the people of Palestine were not given justice. So that has been basically the line of all Pakistani heads of state since then.
And secondly, we have – the issue of Palestine is almost exactly the same as the people of Kashmir. So the moment we give up our principled stand on the recognition of Israel means that we give up on Kashmir, too, because the issues are more or less the same.
So the United States, being a superpower, every country wants to have a good relationship with them. So the temptation is that, if you are friendly, if you recognize Israel, you will have a good relationship with the US.
But the problem in Pakistan is that it is a democratic country. And anyone who wants to go to the people, he knows that the public will never accept any head of state who has recognized Israel.