Pakistan’s elections are just a disguise for rule by a corrupt military junta

Army chief General Asim Munir. Pic: Inter Services Public Relations Pakistan

Pakistani analyst Sikander Malik says the upcoming Pakistani elections are a just a sham and a tool for military dictators to rule Pakistan with a dynastic, civilian mafia front.

On February 7th the banana republic of Pakistan will stage a sham election to provide a civilian front to disguise rule by a military junta. But it will not work because people in Pakistan have been awakened by Imran Khan the founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaaf (justice) party.

Everyone inside and outside Pakistan knows the election is a fraud.

The way the generals removed Imran Khan and his party from power and did everything in their power to finish him and the PTI, has destroyed the reputation of the once-respected military beyond repair. The two political dynasties (Bhutto/Zardari and Sharif) were already discredited.

The junta has turned all institutions of state against Khan and his PTI, inflicting violence, torture, and mass imprisonment against officials and party workers, including ordinary male and even female supporters. Over ten thousand are claimed to have been detained without trial. Many people have simply disappeared and cannot be traced by relatives.

The judiciary, police and media have also become instruments of the fascist army dictatorship.

Recent restrictions by the military extend to outlawing even the display of the PTI logo and not accepting PTI candidates in the election. The end gambit one week before the elections has been the imprisonment of Imran Khan (for 24 years in two cases) as well as his wife.

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The junta has been brutal in violating and punishing those in the PTI who oppose it, even their wives and children. It has become the most vengeful and vicious political persecution in Pakistan’s history, with kangaroo civilian and military courts sentencing people for longer than most people get for murder.


The role of the United States and the UK in supporting the removal of Imran Khan is now well documented and has been extensively discussed. This is evidenced by the fact that the once-convict on the run, Nawaz Sharif, was housed securely and protected in London until his conviction was conveniently overturned.

He returned safely to resume power in Pakistan courtesy of the UK and the military junta. The Bhutto and Shariff dynasties in cahoots with the junta are now ready to resume where they left off before the PTI came to power in 2018, a blip in Pakistani politics.

Military dictators have ruled Pakistan with a dynastic civilian mafia front for decades, just like the military juntas that ruled Latin America for much of the 20th century. Yet at the heart of all issues in Pakistan, as in Latin America and Africa, is the corruption of the rich and powerful elite ruling in return for patronage from the West. Anyone who stood against the corrupt mafia in Pakistan was always going to be met with violence and even liquidation in the style of the Italian mafia, as well as a struggle against their Western backers.

Imran Khan. Editorial credit: Awais khan /

In Pakistan, civilian and military leaders have been utterly corrupt and have amassed huge fortunes while in power at the expense of the poor. While political corruption is well understood by the Pakistani people, military corruption at the senior level has been a no-go area. The military were able to do this by presenting themselves as guardians of the nation from internal and external threats, and censorship of any public debate about their assets and businesses at home or overseas.

Anyone who dared challenge or expose this was presented as anti-national or an enemy of the state.

Military generals have also been mired in corrupt money and laundered their ill-gotten gains into many sectors of the economy which they seek to protect through their continued grip on power. Much of this wealth was extracted by the maintenance of a high military budget but primarily through U.S. military aid and wars on behalf of the United States or IMF loans. Pakistan is often described as having a military economy with large swathes of the economy run by former and current military personnel.

But social and global media have changed the perception of the Pakistan military junta.  The recent leaks and exposure by a U.S.-based Pakistani journalist Ahamd Noorani of outgoing Army Chief General Bajwa’s accumulation of $56 million of wealth during his six-year tenure on top of his salary, has been heavily censored in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, London, Washington, Switzerland, Panama and Dubai are often places where corrupt politicians and generals invest their wealth.

General Asim Munir’s vengeance 

Whilst the Sharif and Bhutto clans’ desire for vengeance against Imran Khan is well-known and public, there is a less well-known vendetta being waged against him. The new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Asim Munir, appointed by Nawaz Sharif in London, has been particularly vicious towards Imran Khan and his wife. Munir would probably have had him killed but for Khan’s global standing.

General Munir is unique – he was the former head of Pakistan’s intelligence the ISI and has now become army chief. Judging by the way he has been desperately trying to portray himself as the political leader of the country, he would probably like to see himself as a Vladimir Putin-type figure.

Munir became an obstacle to Imran Khan’s anti-corruption agenda when he was Prime Minister. Khan replaced him as Director General of the ISI on June 16, 2019 with Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed who managed the end of U.S. rule in Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban to power.

Munir was then appointed by Khan as Quartermaster in the Gujranwala division instead. This was seen as a demotion and he took it very personally and badly. Subsequently, Khan favoured Hameed to Munir to become the new army chief after General Bajwa’s term ended.

So on top of all the other factors, Asim Munir is waging a very bitter personal vendetta against Khan. Both Munir and the Sharif family know if Khan is ever allowed back, they will have to account for their crimes against the people of Pakistan and the State. Having committed blunder after blunder there is no way out for them, so they are determined to eliminate Khan and the PTI one way or another.

The destruction of Pakistan 

Pakistan’s rule by the military junta, most recently Bajwa and Munir in cahoots with the Sharif family, has led Pakistan to the point of economic and political destruction.

The economy has been decimated, with major ports and assets being sold to Gulf countries instead of repayments of debts. The China New Silk Road is being delayed at the Pakistan end. China is tiring of Pakistani politics and turning to Iran. The poor are struggling to make ends meet and millions more have been sent into poverty. Terrorism and separatism are increasing once more in the country.

Pakistan was once a beacon of hope in the Muslim world, but it has regressed rather than progressed. Once Pakistan International Airlines was a leader in the Muslim world and helped Gulf countries to establish their airlines which are now flag-bearers. Whereas today there are no Pakistan International Airlines direct flights to Pakistan from Europe or elsewhere. Pakistanis must take hours via other airlines to get to and from Pakistan, usually from the Gulf, and Pakistan’s airports are being sold to Gulf states.

Nawaz Sharif. Editorial credit: creativei images /

In the 1970s and 80s people from the Gulf used to come for shopping in Karachi and Lahore and some even studied in Pakistani universities. Whereas today the Gulf countries are developed and everyone now goes to visit and shop there.

Pakistan was once a military leader training all the Gulf countries and developing the nuclear bomb. Whereas today it is way behind Iran which has become self-sufficient in arms and missile production. Turkey is now also racing ahead with its own military and drone production.

In a nutshell, Pakistan’s military junta has become a cancerous growth in the heart of the country preventing its development and progression as a leading nation. Sadly, there seems to be no end to the military junta’s lust for power. Pakistan is run by gangsters masquerading as political and military leaders.

The people must take a stand and be counted or it will get much worse. Democracy is unlikely to be the answer. Pakistan requires a clear-out and revolution.

Sikander Malik is a pseudonym for a senior Pakistani analyst who did not want to reveal his name because of probable repercussions from the Pakistani army.

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