Pakistan: Former PM Khan Placed Under Travel Ban

    Pakistan: Former PM Khan Placed Under Travel Ban
    Last updated May 26, 2023
    Image credit: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf/YouTube [via Wikimedia Commons]


    • Pakistani officials on Friday confirmed that the country's Federal Investigation Agency, responsible for immigration and border control, placed former PM Imran Khan, his wife, and over 500 other leaders of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party on a no-fly list.[1]
    • Khan, who himself imposed travel bans on opposition leaders while in office from 2018 to 2022, reacted by saying he welcomed the move, as he has neither "any properties or business abroad nor even a bank account outside the country."[2]
    • The decision to put their names on the so-called Exit Control List (ECL) comes as the government is reportedly seeking to arrest PTI leaders in connection to the May 9 riots in what some have alleged is an effort to force them to leave the party.[3]
    • Pakistan's army and the Shehbaz Sharif ministry have launched a crackdown on the PTI, also detaining thousands of its supporters, in response to the violent protests triggered by the arrest of Khan, who is now out on bail.[4]
    • Defense Minister Khawaja Asif has stated that the decision on whether to ban the PTI will be made in Parliament, adding that "red lines" were crossed on May 9 in an unprecedented way.[5]
    • Khan, who was removed from power in 2022, appealed for immediate talks with state officials on Friday, arguing that the country is approaching anarchy due to the political unrest amid Pakistan's worst economic crisis in decades.[6]


    Narrative A

    Though Pakistan has been engulfed in a constitutional crisis that is threatening its stability, no player has shown any inclination so far to pull back. Instead of finding a democratic solution to this crisis, elected leaders across the political spectrum have been vying for the support of the military — even Khan and his PTI supporters, who are currently facing a military crackdown.

    Narrative B

    Even though Khan has focused specifically on disempowering Army Chief Gen. Asim Munir, he cannot win this standoff as there's no common cause to bring people across the political spectrum together in his support. It was the military that brought Khan to power in 2018 and ousted him in 2022, so it makes sense that the PTI is attempting to exploit internal difference within the army to return to office.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 25% chance that India will conduct a military intervention against Pakistan before the 2024 Indian general elections, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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