He added: “I have very clear foreign policy objectives, and where there are security concerns of the army, we will address them. We will sit down. It is our army.”
Mr. Khan has been a bitter critic of the United States, and in recent years, the Pakistan military has also veered away from its traditionally close ties with the United States, looking toward China and Russia.
Critics say Mr. Khan is pandering to the military.
Maryam Nawaz, the daughter and political heir-apparent of the ousted prime minister, goes as far as calling Mr. Khan a “stooge” and “pawn” of the military and its intelligence agencies. Mr. Khan dismisses such criticism.
In the last elections, in 2013, Mr. Khan’s party won 33 of the 342 seats in the National Assembly. But he remained the key opposition figure, keeping Mr. Sharif off balance through a mix of street agitation and court petitions, which finally led to Mr. Sharif’s dismissal last July.
“I think we should take Imran Khan much more seriously this time,” said Zaigham Khan, a political analyst and newspaper columnist. “He is not alone.”