November 14, 2022
ISLAMABAD – THE PTI chairman is understandably angry since the attempt on his life, but he must not allow emotions to cloud his judgement. Due to preconceived beliefs about the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of the incident, he may do considerable harm to the efforts to get him justice.
Imran Khan is prejudicing the investigation even before it has properly begun by repeatedly insisting that the would-be assassin was not a religiously motivated fanatic but a professional hitman. Not only that, but his statement that there were at least two attackers who shot at him, and his insistence that three senior officials from the government and military conspired to kill him, are also problematic.
As the victim, Mr Khan has a right to name people who he legitimately suspects, but when he is naming names solely because ‘killing is not new for them’ or that one of them ‘is known for and has a background of bumping off people’, perhaps he should consider restraint. These statements have given the incident a shape and colour which has yet to be substantiated with concrete evidence. Convictions and feelings cannot overrule facts and reasoning when the stakes are so high.
As has been said earlier, the former prime minister needs to understand that the attempt to assassinate him was not just a crime against his person; it was also, indirectly, a crime against the many who consider him to be their leader and representative. Those people deserve to know the truth of what actually happened, not just what Mr Khan believed to have happened.
Therefore, instead of ‘guiding’ the investigation in a direction he maybe wants to see it go, Mr Khan should trust the officials probing the matter to find out the truth and report it to the public. Both he and his party have been given a great deal of say in the joint investigation team put together by the Punjab government.
On Thursday, the JIT was reconstituted for the second time as senior PTI leaders wanted their men on the panel instead of the officers proposed by the Punjab Police and the provincial government. They should now trust those handpicked appointees to deliver.
Mr Khan may feel he has good reason to say what he has, but this investigation cannot be left to the findings of social media sleuths and prosecuted in the court of public opinion. This is a good opportunity for the Punjab government — which is controlled by the PTI and its allied faction of the PML-Q — as well as the provincial police force to demonstrate that they are capable of handling this matter.
If they cannot do so, it would be seen as the PTI’s inability to deliver on its promises of good governance through independent institutions. They should allow the JIT to do its job for their own sake.