Imran Khan: engaging delusion

Published: April 11, 2012

The writer is a fellow with the Centre for the Study of Global Power and Politics at Trent University, Canada [email protected]

There was a moment last December when the mirage shimmered and briefly dissipated for many Imran Khan supporters. Amidst a tsunami of Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) flags, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Vice President Ijaz Chaudhry thundered on stage at the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) rally in Lahore. The special message that he delivered from his quaid, Imran Khan, touched the usual conspiracies and clichés about India, America and the Pakistani government. Yet, many PTI supporters were taken aback by their party rubbing shoulders with sectarian murderers and terrorists. Khan himself was questioned on sharing a platform with the likes of JuD and SSP. Unfazed, Khan simply said it was his duty to “engage” with everyone no matter how extreme.

The mirage reconstructed itself. PTI acolytes parroted the party line. The PTI was not associating with terrorists. It was “engaging” fringe elements to wean them into the mainstream. This rhetoric is attractive without being accurate.

Consider. In May 2011, PTI leaders attended a rally with JuD that condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden, and pronounced him –– a man who had declared war on Pakistan –– a “Martyr of Islam.” PTI leaders also attended rallies with JuD and other extremist organisations on January 30, 2011 and October 29, in favour of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws, and to express admiration for Salman Taseer’s assassin. Khan’s message, delivered by Ijaz Chaudhry, was one of endorsement. He called Pakistan’s blasphemy laws “divine,” foreclosing any reform.

Further, in April, 2011 Khan personally visited the Darul-Uloom Haqqania to seek support for his anti-drone dharnas – the campaign many see as a watershed in his rise. Popularly known as “the University of Jihad,” the Dar-ul-Uloom is accused by the Federal Investigation Agency of being the launching pad for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. It has schooled the Taliban’s top leadership, including the Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani, who derives his name from his proud affiliation with his alma mater. And Khan’s “engagement” there? Extolling the virtues jihad as a mandatory obligation – the very ideology the would-be jihadis are indoctrinated with.

The DPC’s anti-Ahmadi activities are well-documented. Less so are the PTI’s, which has attended events arranged by the Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatm-e-Nubuwwat to discuss “increasing anti-social activities by Qadianis [Ahmadis] destroying the country’s peace”. Little surprise, then, that PTI leaders were behind the bigoted boycott of Ahmadi-made products by the Lahore Bar Association.

At DPC rallies PTI leaders are seen erupting in wild applause, encouraging the militancy, xenophobia and misogyny spouted by the likes of Ahmed Ludhianvi of the SSP and Hafiz Saeed of the JuD. In fact, PTI president Javed Hashmi recently named the UN-declared terrorist Hafiz Saeed to be a “preacher of peace” on the same day that Saeed was publicly calling for “holy war”.

In this light, who is engaging whom? And where does engagement drift into naked endorsement? It appears that the PTI, instead of peeling away extremists, is pandering to the hateful agendas of Pakistan’s Islamist and hyper-nationalist lunatic fringe. Moreover, as these organisations gain a mainstream podium to disseminate their extreme views, they are gaining a veneer of legitimacy with mainstream voters and PTI supporters. Indeed, the terrorist SSP has undergone a resurgence since its outings with the DPC and PTI.

Can one reasonably expect the nature of PTI’s “engagement” with the far-right to be substantially different when Imran Khan does not believe jihadist radicalisation to be a concern? Having opposed military operations against the Taliban and terrorist organisations, Khan has stated that in power he would cease any action against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Recently he went so far as to state that “there is not a threat to Pakistan from Taliban ideology.”

This is stunning given the backdrop of the spiralling persecution and slaughter of Pakistan’s beleaguered minorities, including Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians, by the Taliban and groups sharing their sectarian ideology –– among them PTI’s DPC partners. Khan’s position becomes positively morbid considering that a staggering 40,000 Pakistanis have been killed in militant and terrorist attacks since 2001. Whatever routine of blame-the-imperialist one engages in to explain the existence of these terrorists, the fact is their ideology –– unthreatening to Khan –– accommodates mass murder.

Here, then, is the rub. Politics is about nurturing electoral constituencies and ensuring survival. If far-right politics and appeasing extremists successfully paves the way to power, then after years in the political wilderness Khan will have found his electoral niche. Those making excuses for this political opportunism are engaging only delusion.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.

Reader Comments (105)

  • Cautious
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:02PM

    Author has a good point — you can engage extreme elements without sharing a public platform and giving them a pulpit to spout their hatred. Poor decision by Khan.

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  • Adeel Syed
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:15PM

    I’m not a supporter of PTI but one of those who are inclined to vote for them. However with them sitting in the Mullahs’ laps its makes it hard for the vast moderate majority to vote for them.

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  • Apr 11, 2012 - 10:16PM

    Liberals (so-called) always defend Zardari & co by saying, “Nothing is proved against them in any court of law” and that we should not call them guilty until proven.
    Going by the same logic, may we ask to provide proof of the crimes he has very carelessly attributed to JUD, DPC or Dar-ul-uloom Haqqania? Does the “Innocent until Proven Guilty” rule not apply to them?
    DPC / JUD people murderers. Where is the proof? Where is a conviction by any court of law?
    Why the double standard? How can you call anybody murderer or criminal (without any proof or conviction) and be called LIBERAL?
    The liberals say PTI is mere rhetoric; what is this article about, except RHETORIC?
    Disclaimer: This comment is not meant to defend DPC / JUD etc in any way. It is only meant to counter the anti-PTI propaganda in the garb of opposing JUD / DPC etc.Recommend

  • Usman
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:20PM

    If PTI does not engage these people and convince them to do politics, they will surely go to extremism. It is good if they take part in elections. They (Difia-e-pakistan Council and the like) will not will more than 4 to 5 seats in Pakistan, but this will stop them from extremism. So I think PTI is right in engaging everyone.

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  • faraz
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:22PM

    Militant groups in DPC are “strategic assets” of our state institutions. PML-N, PPP and PML-Q all have deep links with these extremist sectarian groups, but unlike PTI, are not silly enough to send representatives to DPC rallies.

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  • Omair
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:24PM

    Dear Shibil Siddiqi,

    Pakistan is made up of different type of people and tolerating their different view is what a national leader does.

    basic premise is that not everyone thinks the same way. Our surroundings, upbringing, education all play a part in formulating our opinion.

    So it may happen that you may agree with a lot of people, say on a cause such as “Saving Pakistan” but not on the method they want to go about doing it.

    PTI has categorically stated that violence is not their policy and there will be no alliance with parties that use violence to achieve their ends. PTI believes in a policy of engaging people and using state power only as a last resort. I know this goes in direct opposition to what liberals like i.e. bomb anyone who does not agree with them, but as the situation in Pak has shown this does not work.

    ORecommend

  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:29PM

    Its a public demand sir what u want from him he go to israel for falafel.

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  • faraz
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:33PM

    @Tehreek-e-Insaf FATA

    Reversing your weird argument; Imran is wrong in criticizing Zardari because he hasn’t been convicted! Isn’t it common knowledge that he is corrupt, just as DPC are terrorist groups?

    Politics revolves around public perception and it’s not about liberal or conservative. People who are being massacred by these groups are not fools; they know which groups are behind daily sectarian killings and blasts. Do you think people don’t know who is killing people in Hazara, Gilgit etc. PTI made a blunder by attending DPC rallies; accept it. Author is not standing for elections, Imran is.

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  • hbk
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:35PM

    lol! This article is seriously short of facts. Imran khan is the real liberal. A liberal is one who doesn’t have any problem with any culture and can coexist with anyone. Unfortunately most so called liberals today are not actually liberals but anti-islam . Why don’t these people want someone stand up against american impelialism for a sovereign pakistan?Recommend

  • Assad
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:43PM

    DPC or no DPC, Imran Khan has clearly said many times that there is no place for militancy in modern Pakistan ( for eg. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbWNX1Gg1l0).

    And instead of complaining about what Imran Khan does or does not do, lets focus are attention on bringing to task those that are in Power now, and were in power when the extremist forces were born and almost took control of the country. There is no point throwing a tantrum every time IK does something that you dont like.

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  • Gul Rukh
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:44PM

    I was not a supporter of PTI but become one after Imran Khan interview . Now after ‘engaging’ with DPC and Hashmi’s utterances that the Name of DPC was proposed by him & calling Hafiz Saeed a “Preacher of Peace’ and I am turned away from Imran Khan again. Now I am sure that if Imran Khan comes to power then, God Forbid, He will be the last ruler of United Pakistan. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:50PM

    @faraz
    peoples dying in karachi by ethanic warfare and in fata and other part of the country why u guys dont say any thing and i think big problem is our system which to be corrected once imran khan formed it then we gonna see how he doing.

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  • hbk
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:50PM

    an alliance is made to achieve common objectives. Pti’s view of rooting out american influence in pakistan and govt.’s support for the american war on terror is common with that of the DPC. I believe that if PTI makes an alliance with DPC to achieve these common objectives then it would be a good decision. DPC is not a political party but just a pressure group. PTI is also just a pressure group, sitting out of the parliament.

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  • Assad
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:50PM

    Imran Khan and PTI are damned if they do and damned if they dont. Its a very thin line on which they have to tread. Half of his haters waste time in trying to portray him as some playboy jewish agent, and the other half as re-incarnation of Baitullah Mehsud.

    ET PLEASE POST THIS COMMENTRecommend

  • Mustafa Kamal
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:51PM

    Well Researched and Factual. What has been said the writer is the real face of PTI and Imran Khan.

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  • Babloo
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:54PM

    Engagement and Endorsement are two absolutely different things.
    Thanks to the writer for making that abundantly clear.
    Mr Imran Khan, wants to be seen by DPC as endorsing them and wants to be seen by non-extrimists as engaging them.
    Don’t be fooled.

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  • Falcon
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:57PM

    It would be helpful if one of these days, even one of the PTI critics can publish a comprehensive anti-terrorism solution taking into consideration the extent of radicalization already prevailing in the society, finances and resources available to the state, affects of war on national psychology, contextual variables facilitating militancy in tribal areas, and potential economic and social re-purcussions of continued cooperation in war on terror. The bottom line is this, everyone is criticizing but very few know what is truly creating chaos in the society and how to reverse the cycle. Once you have done enough research, you might not agree with everything PTI is doing, but you might not disagree with them as much as well.

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  • Kanwal
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:03PM

    And when the great Khan fails in his 90-days remedies for all ills, the youth will be even more stressed than right now. Will work for everybody, including Khan.

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  • Ali Q
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:05PM

    Imran Khan calls for peace – and there’s no peace without engagement.

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  • Babloo
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:10PM

    If Imran Khan is elected as PM ( My detailed calculations, which cannot be revealed, show chances of that 1.003 % ) and the chances of USA unleashing drone strikes on the day of his inaugration ( 89.237% ) .
    So what will Imran do ?

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  • faraz
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:10PM

    @Ali Tanoli

    Ethnic parties in Karachi are involved in widespread killings, and should be dealt with force. There is no difference between TTP and ethnic target killers. Why is Imran is silent over MQM? And I am a PTI supporter.

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  • Z
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:11PM

    @faraz: Zardari has been convicted. Please look it up here: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/pakistan/asif-zardari.htm

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  • reasonable
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:14PM

    @Ali Q:
    This is not engagement, this is marriage!!!!!

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  • ali
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:16PM

    @Falcon

    PTI president attending rallies of UN banned organization and sectarian terrorist groups cannot be a part of any counter terrorism policy. A major group in DPC is involved in attacks in Hazara and Gilgit where people were stoned to death. You are putting difference of opinion and murder in the same category. According to Imran’s argument, dialogue should be held with dacoits, thieves, acid throwers etc. What kind of counter terrorism strategy involves public rallies by banned groups. JI and JUI is right wing. DPC is not right, but killers.

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  • elementary
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:19PM

    @Babloo:
    On day of his inauguration your 1.003% probabality would have turned into 100% reality which by it’s reciprocal relation would lead to probabality of next drone strike of 8.923%.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:24PM

    @faraz
    yeas i am agreed on that he should say some.

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  • Jawad Jutt
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:30PM

    Engaging in dialogue and ceding on their demands are two different things, PTI agreed with their policies and supported banning of juices and other products of a minority sect in Pakistan and they never intended to have a dialogue but rather gave them full support. We also should remember this fact as well that Tahaffuz Khatam e Nubawwat which is supported not only by PTI but by PPP and PMLN as well not only defend killing of Ahmedis in Pakistan but also stresses that in Pakistan killing of Apostates and non Muslims will be a made a part of constitution.
    But this is Pakistan and every party have to take the support Religious Bigots and Fundamentalists to get votes. From Bhutto, Zia ul haq to Nawaz and now Imran to Jamiat and Maulana all are same. Our parties have to get the support the these fundamentalists to get into the parliament as we like it or not but these banned parties have appeal in lower middle class of Pakistan. Unless in Pakistan separation of relgion and state will not be cultured these state of affairs will continue as we can envisage them right now.

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  • kaalchakra
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:32PM

    Every week, ET publishes at least two anti-Imran Khan articles :)

    But the people of Pakistan have wised up. Liberal extremists cannot take ordinary Pakistanis for a ride anymore.

    Jive Jive Imran Khan – Hafiz Saeed dynamic duo! Down with negativity! Say yes to loving Pakistan!! Those who serve Pakistan like Imran Khan and Hafiz Saeed will rule Pakistan forever!!

    The Tsunami is here and hope is back again!! :)

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  • Babloo
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:35PM

    Mr Imran Khan must understand that drone strikes against militants is not like a cricket match, where Mr Imran Khan can appeal to an umpire ( preferable from Pakistan ) for a LBW decision.

    In this game, both the batsman and the umpire are USA and the bowler Imran has no chance and his 1st ball will be hit for a six or called no ball !.

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  • hbk
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:37PM

    @ ali tanoli & faraz imran khan quotes a chinese saying while answering this question: “know your enemy”. He says that why should i fight and waste time on a party which has only 18 seats and leave the big crocodiles like PML-N and PPP alone. Remember imran used to criticize mqm when no one else dared. Now, i believe, he has a new strategy.

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  • gp65
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:39PM

    @Omair: You are simply restating PTI’s well known stance that PTI simply engages DPC does not endorse its agenda. The author has given concrete examples for why he believes he that PTI NOT ONLY engages DPC but endorses their view point. Do you factually disagree with any of the examples provided or do you disagree with the logic used by author. Without doing one or other, simply parrorting the stand of ‘we enage but do not endorse’ makes little sense.

    @Falcon : Solution for any problem including terrorism is teh 2nd step. First step is acknowledgment of the problem. If PTI endorses Qadri’s actions, DPC members actions, persecution of Ahmadis etc then for them there is no terrorism problem. The argument of the author is that the fundamental viewpoint of someone who sees actions of many of DPC members as terrorism, acion of Lahore Barc council as persecution of Ahmadis etc. differes at a value level regarding what constitutes terrorism. There is thus no basis for a discussion on solving a problem that the other side does not believe exists.

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  • faraz
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:52PM

    @hbk

    In 2011, more people died in Karachi than religious terrorism! Imran’s whole politics revolves around War and terror, but he is silent over the issue that killed more people, and paralyzed Karachi which is the engine of our economy.

    And are these anti-Islam liberals? They are chanting slogans against groups that are part of DPC.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/362698/g-b-violence-we-are-all-muslims-no-harm-will-come-to-me/

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  • elementary
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:54PM

    Allowing religious extremism into main political,social and educational stream will not poison the stream,on the contrary there is a possibility it might dilute their extremism,weeding out their hatred,bigotry and violence.
    Isolating and Pushing them against the wall and into the caves will not make them disappear,on the contrary it will make them more violent ,vicious and spiteful.
    Letting them be part of society will not make everyone extremist as the liberals fear ,neither will secularism make everyone atheist as the religious fear.
    Let society harmonize and find it’s own centre of gravity.

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  • Falcon
    Apr 11, 2012 - 11:58PM

    @gp65:
    Agreed. So the bottom line question is; is this PTI’s counter-terrorism strategy or this is what they truly believe in? The answer to that lies in looking at IK’s own lifestyle and
    his handling of his family, detailed chapters in his book on tolerance towards minorities, his statements against Salman Taseer’s Killer, minorities in PTI ranks, composition of PTI leadership, IK’s recent statement regarding Hafiz Saeed, and recent report leaked regarding Hafiz Saeed cooperating with Govt. on de-radicalization front . But for that to happen, PTI bashers will have to develop willingess to look at positive side of things (certainly a difficult feat to accomplish!) and have some intuitive familiarity with how radicalization builds up and winds down in a society.

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  • PTI troll 76
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:01AM

    Imran Khan / PTI did not create the mullahs or the ‘extremist mindset’ but is a result of years of economic, social and judical injustice. That is what Imran Khan / PTI have identified as the first thing they intend to tackle once in power.

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  • Usman Ali
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:02AM

    Imran Khan is right !. We should talk to all and engage with all they are our brothers.

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  • Falcon
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:12AM

    @ali:
    Let’s look at it from another perspective. We are at war with militants. So we are in a typical dilemma on whether we take the revenge (or punishment) for people who have already fallen or continue the fight and let more innocent people fall to the menance of miliants. For you to persecute militants, you will have to muster a lot of resources from protection of everyone in the lifeycle of the case from witnesses to judiciary to gathering of evidence through sophisticated technology to mitigating over-dramatization of event (just like in Lal Masjid episode) to prevent potential backlash from the broader integration of sectarian group. Do you have the resources to do it taking into consideration your tax-to-GDP ratio and the meager amount left in the budget afterwards? Do you have the political support for it? The bottom line is this we are all eating away at the foundation of the state without knowing how we are contributing to it. On top of it, we don’t have solutions. So we can truly debate whether this is the right route or not but that is certainly different from being in cahoots with militant groups.

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  • Naheed Akhtar
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:21AM

    good looking Jamat islami….thats all that sums up Imran Khan

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  • sohaib
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:22AM

    The secular and liberals kill innocent civilians, tow foreign agenda and loot and plunder the country and stash their wealth outside. Fake liberals keep accusing DPC, JuD of terrorism. Tell me where has DPC or JuD committed terrorism in Pakistan? Please come out this hypocrisy.

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  • adeel ahmed
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:33AM

    Like people didnt understand Quaid-e-Azam, they yet to understand Imran Khan. He is neither left nor right but only right. When he say that Waziristan operation is wrong, it hurt leftist and when he say in interview to NDTV that Salman Taseer was wrongly killed and this shows the polarization of our society, the rightest get angry.

    When he visit Jamia Haqqania, left hurt but when the songs on in his Jalsas, rightest hurt.

    When he was about to share stage with Rushdie (as he was unaware), right get angry but when he cancelled the program left start questioning.

    Actually, Imran Khan is the only person who can act as a bridge between left and right or infact also each ethnicity in Pakistan. Imran Khan will never close its door to extremist because end of the day who can bring them into mainstream.

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  • elementary
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:43AM

    There are more than 600,000 students in 28000 registered madrasahs at this vey moment and we all know what they are being taught .
    when they come out, what shall we do with them: sideline ,alienate ,suppress ,condemn and deal them with iron hand;keeping in mind that they are willing to blow themseves up at the slightest of pretext,,I strongly believe,such strategy can only backfire.
    Acknowledging their presence and view point is not endorsing it,we must let them be part of our society or succumb ourselves to the ever increasing spiral of hatred and violence.

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:56AM

    If you have your facts right — and I have no reason to suspect that you do not — this is very disturbing but not a surprise.

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  • Super pak
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:56AM

    Have you seen the size of the rallies, you may not like it but these mullahs are a permenent part of pakistan, you cannot alienate the conservative vote. These are the cold hard facts deal with it also this has already been discussed on here before, quit regurgitating information.

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  • Ali Q
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:12AM

    @reasonable

    hahahaha. don’t be unreasonable.

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  • True Muslim Paki
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:16AM

    Yes. I fully endorse with the views of T-e-I fata. The idealogy of both PTI & DPC is the same. The so called liberals are branding Islamic religious groups as militants while these were the groups which stood with people during floods & earth quake. More Importantly, DPC & PTI both have similar idealogy like Anti-Drone, Anti US & west, Pro Islam,& they don’t this war on terror to continue. Both have never attacked are used any harsh words against Taliban & any other islamic groups. IK zzindabad, PTI zzindabad & down with CIA agent & liberal extremists.

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  • MarkH
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:17AM

    @elementary:
    nah. I’d bet you anything the strikes would come especially because of Imran Khan’s presence. He can’t stop anything without taking action that would be considered pro-US/NATO. The US is better at making statements than Imran Khan. The only thing that would have to be done to ruin that man after he’s elected is to call him on his impossible claims by making him act. When he can’t, it’ll speak for itself. No need for debate with a nobody.

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  • fawad
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:54AM

    Once PTI comes to power, our Quiad will stop all the tribune posters critical of our beloved Quiad in just 90 days. So all the PTI haters enjoy for now!

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  • Paindoo
    Apr 12, 2012 - 4:22AM

    PPP declared Ahmedis non muslim, PPP’s current MNA Mian Mithu converting non Muslims to Muslims forcefully (Rinkal Kumari and Many More) but our socalled liberals are ok with PPP’s corruption to exteremism policies and criticising day/night to man who has never been to power even a single time.

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  • Shehzad Shah
    Apr 12, 2012 - 4:45AM

    Pakistan’s tryst with extremism is embedded in its DNA. To move against such innate predisposition is difficult for any leader, and near impossible for one who is building a support base. Furthermore, Imran Khan is strongly conservative by personal inclination; it is only natural that he will embrace the virus in Pakistan’s gene code rather than attempt to counter it. At least he’s not being a hypocrite, unlike our last great populist leader.

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  • Ali
    Apr 12, 2012 - 4:55AM

    JUI F and PPP enough said.

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  • Babloo
    Apr 12, 2012 - 8:16AM

    Shehzad Shah wrote “Pakistan’s tryst with extremism is embedded in its DNA. ”
    Fully agree. The symptoms that we see today in Pakistan are the culmination of a process ( politics laced with religion and intolerance ) that has been building for past 6 decades.

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  • gp65
    Apr 12, 2012 - 8:42AM

    @True Muslim Paki: “The idealogy of both PTI & DPC is the same. “

    So it looks like you approve of Imran’s actions but disagree with how he characterises it. You do not believe that he is imply engaging DPC, you believe that he is endorsing it.

    On other hand, you agree with author’s facts regarding PTI (it supports DPC agenda and is not simply engaing it) but have a different opinion than the author about whether that agenda is good (as you believe) or bad (as the author believes).

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  • gp65
    Apr 12, 2012 - 8:46AM

    @fawad: “Once PTI comes to power, our Quiad will stop all the tribune posters critical of our beloved Quiad in just 90 days. So all the PTI haters enjoy for now!”

    SO in your opinion Imran does not believe in media freedom? Interesting considering that media has had such a large role in building him up. By the way, you seem to think it is a good thing that he would come down heavily on dissent?

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  • observer
    Apr 12, 2012 - 9:09AM

    @True Muslim Paki

    The idealogy of both PTI & DPC is the same.

    Brother, you got it absolutely right. I do not know why the PTI Qaid, instead of declaring this, is talking about engaging extrimists and bringing them to mainstream. Actually there are no extremists only PTI followers.

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  • billo
    Apr 12, 2012 - 9:29AM

    Bravo! The only problem with this article is that it expects facts and logic to sway the PTI hordes!

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  • MAD
    Apr 12, 2012 - 10:12AM

    @Cautious: They finally have backed of DPC BTW. It was a poor decision and am glad they realized their mistake.

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  • Waqar
    Apr 12, 2012 - 10:14AM

    There we go again, another Anti Imran khan article via ET. Please tell me something new.

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  • Riaz Khan
    Apr 12, 2012 - 11:00AM

    Imran Khan is the face for extremist parties whether it’s JI or others & even those who are involved in terrorist activities. One cannot bank on Imran, he is too immature to run the country. Although not a supporter of AAZ & NS but at least they are tried. IK can lead us to total disaster.

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  • Afroz
    Apr 12, 2012 - 11:07AM

    Another attempt to get the highest hit on the blog by captioning the article with “IMRAN ….” and then try to put the lame justifications for defaming the rise of third leadership in the country.

    I request the writer to look into the comments given by the reader and make decision of the baseless stuff.Recommend

  • waqarlearner
    Apr 12, 2012 - 11:32AM

    Shibli has shown the real face of Imran Khan and PTI.

    While the DPC and JuD claim openly what they really are i.e extreme right,PTI is at extreme side of hypocrisy,claiming to be liberals but actually endorsing extremists and cooperating with them.

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  • gp65
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:23PM

    @MAD: ” They finally have backed of DPC BTW. It was a poor decision and am glad they realized their mistake.”

    What are you basing this conclusion? Just recently the PTI president Javed Hashmi described Hafiz Saeed as a ma of peace and also said that he is the one that even suggested the name Difai-Pakistan Council

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  • Uzair
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:09PM

    @hbk: Yes, liberalism means tolerance for different viewpoints and lifestyles. But by an sane measure it DOES NOT mean accepting those ideologies which themselves DO NOT accept others’ right to free thought, free speech, free inquiry, and lifestyle choice. That is against the Social Contract of a civilized society.

    Thus, liberals have a right and a duty to oppose those who would forcefully and violently impose their own personal beliefs on others.

    Imran Khan, by standing next to and cheering the bigots and murderers, has exposed his own bigotry, and is not worthy of consideration of any public office.

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  • xiaahmad
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:46PM

    Good strategy by IMRAN KHAN he is engaging all these groups rather than to sideline them.

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  • xiaahmad
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:55PM

    If PTI wont engage these ppl will they disappear? so its better talk to them and rather than forcing them against wall

    Its easy to sit and write against IK coz tat whats sells right now. But reality is different. You cant just ignore these groups

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  • kamran
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:56PM

    Shias are over 30 percent of Pakistan’s population, estimated by expert Vali Nasr to be 50 million strong.

    Shias should create their own separate national political party relying on their huge vote bank. This would effectively counter the terrorist-PTI alliance.

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  • xiaahmad
    Apr 12, 2012 - 2:00PM

    If Britain can talk to IRA why cant we in Pakistan cant talk to these groups?

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  • elementary
    Apr 12, 2012 - 2:53PM

    @fawad:You wrote. “Once PTI comes to power, our Quiad will stop all the tribune posters critical of our beloved Quiad in just 90 days. So all the PTI haters enjoy for now!”.

    This is the most ANTI PTI statement I have seen on these blogs:and you think you are PTI supporter ,or are you one from oppsition parties trying to muddy the waters.

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  • WB
    Apr 12, 2012 - 3:26PM

    I hope jud and ssp people read this article;

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  • Tehreem
    Apr 12, 2012 - 3:26PM

    A complete misleading article. Today the known terrorists of the world Taliban are being invited to talk by the US and Local afghan government. It has been declared a welcoming step. After years of fighting, shedding blood, delaying democracy and delaying education such a step in Afghanistan is being hailed simply because you its idiotic to marginalise or shoot a bigoted fellow. Imran has been strongly vocal for the term justice. If you suspect someone prove it in the court, if you cannot than accept that they are a part of your society as well. Extremism can only be tackled by a strong education system, poverty alleviation and strong justice system and these three have been strong points of PTI. And let me correct the author when salman rushdie was killed Imran did condemn the act.

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  • Uzair
    Apr 12, 2012 - 3:36PM

    @xiaahmad: The IRA is in Ireland, not Britain! If some group in London started fascism and violence and bomb attacks, the British government, like any sane government, would NOT negotiate with the group. The group would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Only in Pakistan do we have support for groups which would do it the most harm.

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  • siddique
    Apr 12, 2012 - 4:39PM

    nothing innovative

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  • Shams
    Apr 12, 2012 - 4:59PM

    @Tehreem Yes, the US has been defeated in Afghanistan and is leaving the country so it is talking to the Taliban. You want Pakistan to surrender to the TTP in the same way? Have some national pride at least. This is your country, not some foreign colony like Afghanistan is to the US. And Salman Rushdie is still alive by the way.

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  • Zoaib
    Apr 12, 2012 - 5:39PM

    Engagement or endorsement, PTI has to keep links with them so that they are not turned into enemies and the option of dialogue remains open whenever they come to power. But I just know one thing that I trust: that when IK says he will not compromise on his agenda, he means it. He has said multiple times that a PTI government will conduct across the board de-weaponisation and no militant groups will be allowed from Pakistan’s soil. So I expect he will deliver on this promise and have hope.

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  • Truth Teller
    Apr 12, 2012 - 5:40PM

    Imran Khan God forbid if he becomes the prime minister of this country than I can bet my life that he will be the last PM of United Pakistan. He is way too immature to be even thought in the wildest possible dreams to become the PM of Pakistan.

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  • faraz
    Apr 12, 2012 - 6:00PM

    @Z

    Convict cannot become president according to constitution. Website is incorrect

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  • Ali S
    Apr 12, 2012 - 6:10PM

    Even if the PTI doesn’t deliver on its promises (realistically speaking, quite likely, I’ll admit), and even assuming the worst-case scenario – the question is: can they be a bigger failure than the current government is? I highly doubt that.
    And please cut me some slack about the “terrorist appeaser” nonsense, remember that your very own Zardari sahab was the one who struck a deal with the Taliban about sharia in Swat a few years back.Recommend

  • Salaar Shamsi
    Apr 12, 2012 - 6:13PM

    In dealing with these kind of extremist groups PTI finds itself in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. What IK brings to the picture is an untried, untested leader not involved in any corruption yet and that’s largely what Pakistan needs and he’s definetly much more liberal than any of the other options, so on any count, he can’t do much worse than the others.Recommend

  • Abrar R
    Apr 12, 2012 - 6:37PM

    For starters, this is Islami Jamhooria e Pakistan. A country formed on the name of Islam. Religious forces will always have their roots deep into the Pakistani populous. If tomorrow Haji Abdul Wahab decides to context elections, you would need to coin a term much stronger than Tsunami to go with its magnitude.

    Talk of the chowkidaar who works for 8k a month and tells his household of 8 each day how Allah SWT is going to reward for their suffering that they are going through. Message of these hardline extremists is their sole hope. The extremists are very well connected with the common man.

    Rural and urban both types living in extreme conditions have always found comfort in the message of the Islamists. Its stupid to think of a scenario where these forces are eliminated and more moderate Islam prevails. Whosoever wishes a moderate Islam, can go live in Turkey. Pakistan is styled in its own way.

    A national leader has a big job on his hands. He has to gel with the moderates, the leftists and the hardliners and carve a road ahead. Remember, a leader is a different person to different types.

    Imran naturally is at the center right. He has an Islamist bend and understands the west. Nobody will tell Khan who is a terrorist and who is not. Khan never took the wests line on the Taliban and thats what earned him ‘Taliban Khan’.

    Khan is the man for an Independent foreign policy.Recommend

  • Freeman
    Apr 12, 2012 - 6:52PM

    @Gul Rukh: Stop showing that you use to be in PTI and falsefying things that Imran did this and did that. I think Imran Khans policy to pull these organisations back to main streams is really intelligent way to fight with extremism which started after Soviet Unions war against Aghanistan.

    Now Imran khan is right to say that he wants these people to come back to main stream in Pakistani politics and all decisions should be made politically not with the wars and killing innocent people. How much we can fight – Unlimited. The more we fight the more there will be extremeist in increase.
    Only Pakistanis are being killed not other countries people here. Imran Khan’s knows ground reallities more than you as he is on the ground.Recommend

  • Z
    Apr 12, 2012 - 7:29PM

    @faraz: Really? Do you think the constitution hasn’t been trampled on before Zardari did it? According to the constitution the president cannot hold the office he currently does within the PPP (there is also a LHC ruling on it), but here he is. To think someone like him would pay any due to the constitution is either naive or disingenuous. I hope in your case it’s the former.

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  • Riaz Khan
    Apr 12, 2012 - 7:46PM

    Imran Khan would be a bigger disaster than Yahya Khan + ZAB + AAZ + NS + ABBA JEE Put Together!

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  • faraz
    Apr 12, 2012 - 7:51PM

    @Z

    Lahore High Court rules against Zardari; but the case regarding Zardari holding dual offices is in the Supreme Court. You are definitely naïve; politicians don’t issue receipts of bribery, corruption is impossible to prove. But a public perception builds up against such parties and politicians.

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  • Abid
    Apr 12, 2012 - 7:59PM

    I do believe… i do believe…..i do believe……i’ll vote for PTI….. this negative propaganda by express tribune make me more convinced that Imran is “THE ONE

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  • reasonable
    Apr 12, 2012 - 8:28PM

    I think it is nice to bring back all these people with extreme views to main stream. But the way to about is the question. Attending DPC rallies is not the way to go trhats what i feel it would send a wrong signal that what they are doing is right. Which might also alienate the mainstream support. I think the way to bring them to mainstream not to go to their rallies and Jalsas but to engage them in talks. If the same logic is followed then PTI would also be attending Jalsas of TTP rallies or killings!!!! reson being we want them to be brought to mainstream.

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  • Sameer
    Apr 12, 2012 - 9:33PM

    I have written at least 6 comments and all have been censored in last week or two. ridiculous…

    None of my comment on Imran Khan is published. ..

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  • True Muslim Paki
    Apr 12, 2012 - 10:58PM

    @GP65 & Observer. I agree with the Author of the Article and stand by my comment that “theres no difference in ideology between PTI & DPC". Afterall, both of them agree "Stopping Drones/Anti US/Anti Taliban War/both are religious/ etc etc. But whats wrong in that? Isnt Pakistan a Islamic State? Arent Mullahs part of national fabric? Tell me whats the difference in terms of ideology? Why the fuss?

    The only difference between IK & DPC is that IK also focuses on corruption. And majority of Pakistanis agree with the views of DPC, so whats the Authors problem? All of us will vote for PTI & DPC should they form a alliance, and Inshallah, thats what its going to be.

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  • Z
    Apr 12, 2012 - 11:26PM

    @faraz: So according to your logic, unless a politician issues a receipt for any bribery s/he indulged in, it is impossible to prove? We should then surely exempt politicians from any accountability.

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  • faraz
    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:05AM

    @Z

    This was never my argument. You have forgotten why you replied to my comment at the first place.

    Read all my comments on this article. I said, in Pakistan, if a person is not convicted, it doesn’t mean he is innocent in the eyes of the masses. You don’t have to wait for Zardari’s conviction to conclude that he is corrupt; it’s obvious, whether proved or not. Similarly you don’t have to wait for DPC groups to get convicted for murder. But you said that Zardari is a convict, you implied that conviction by court is necessary to prove guilt. But I showed, he hasn’t been convicted; and now you have drawn a new conclusion that I am against accountability!

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  • Tehreem
    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:08AM

    @shams Are you kidding? Pakistan is already a colony!. When it promised to take part in the war against terrorism which Imran strongly opposed it became a colony. It seems you are presumably very deluded about our sovereignty. when US comes and bombs your places is it a sign of your “freedom”? When on US demand people go “missing” is that a sign of your “freedom”? Or is a sign of your freedom when your GDP accounts high rates of “IMF” funding? So if no I don’t like having fake pride. People living in the tribal areas who are bombed by the drones aren’t TTP. Have some shame. Dialogue is the only solution. Period.

    P.S. Typo Salmaan Taseer* not Rushdie

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  • shams
    Apr 13, 2012 - 1:31AM

    @Tehreem Is it sign of freedom for you when the TTP declare the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan? You want to lie down and surrender and parcel all of the country to them? You have absolutely no respect for our great country and sovreignty if you call us a colony. You think we are like Afghanistan? You should go there some time, it will be a good lesson for you. Why has our army been fighting terrorists? Not for our sovreignty? I come from an army family. My family has sacrificed in this fight against the TTP terrorists. Thousands of our jawans have laid down their lives to defend this soil. And you want to lie down and surrender to TTP who are trying to take over this country? It is sad when innocents are killed in this fight that the TTP has started since the 1990s – before the damn Americans were here. But the people of FATA are 100% with efforts to destroy the terrorists and protect this country. Lets elimate people who have killed 40000 countrymen first. Once we have unity as a country again we can take care of America or anyone else.

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  • Pakistani
    Apr 13, 2012 - 3:35AM

    Imran Khan has condemned the death of Salmaan Taseer

    He has repeatedly condemned all suicide attacks, target killings, bomb blasts whether they are at shrines, imambarghas or mosques

    He has recently conemned the attacks on shias in gilgit baltistan and also called sectarianism a curse

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  • billo
    Apr 13, 2012 - 7:21AM

    @Pakistani Yes. And the US always condemns violence and talks about peace and human rights all the time. So why still criticize it? Because its actions that count, not words. IK talks the talks. He definitely does not walk the walk.

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  • Umer
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:32AM

    @hbk:

    A liberal is one who doesn’t have any
    problem with any culture and can
    coexist with anyone.

    What is wrong with accepting the culture of drone attacks if culture of Difa-e-Pakistan extremist is acceptable to Imran? Imran supporters come up with some real ridiculous arguments to defend the indefensible.

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  • Umer
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:47AM

    @reasonable:

    I think it is nice to bring back all
    these people with extreme views to
    main stream.

    They are not just extremists; some of them are actual criminals. Remember the horrific Gojra incident.

    Next time I commit a crime I’ll demand that I am not punished but engaged so I can come back to mainstream. Why don’t we release criminals from jail too so they can come back to mainstream too? What a ridiculous argument by Imran supporters for his support of extremists. Go sell your snake oil somewhere else.

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  • Hadiya
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:35AM

    SO-CALLED LIBERALS. someone really needs to define the term ‘liberal’ for this country. The term ‘liberal fascism’ is a disgrace to modern times.
    Very well-written article, I want to cry with frustration after reading it, so many sensible people see no wrong with what IK does and says. Mass delusion.

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  • Umer
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:58AM

    PTI = Nazi party in the making

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  • Nasir
    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:07PM

    very disapointing Mr Khan!

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  • waqarlearner
    Apr 13, 2012 - 3:39PM

    @Truth Teller

    Fully agreed with you,no one is addressing the threat to Pakistan integrity that will take real shape if PTI and IK comes to power.They are disguised as revolutionists but the actual face behind is of an extremist and fascist entity.Whoever is the supporter of PTI should think for all people of this country and come out of the delusion to save the remaining Pakistan.

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  • billo
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:04PM

    @Maaz Yes everyone please see the PTI rebuttal! http://mittipayo.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/so-imran-khans-the-target-of-your-goebbelss-vendetta/ Its the biggest pile of steaming nonsense I’ve read in a long time! Note to PTI “intellectuals”: rebuttals take more than stringing together a bunch of fancy words. When read together, those words actually have to make sense.

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  • Apr 14, 2012 - 5:32AM

    @Umer:

    “PTI = Nazi party in the making”

    No hurry. Every wine needs to mature.
    On the other hand Nazi Party was not religion based. Even the Roman Catholics had a tough time.

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  • gp65
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:08AM

    @Maaz: “Reply frm pti everyone must read dis”

    Okay I read the rebuttal. IT makses no sense to me. A lot of high sounding words are used but not a single piece of data or logic provided by the author has been directly contradicted. Instead the rebuttal simply attacks the author as well as Tribune for being biased without providing any evidence of bias. Even if Tribune consistently publishes things which are anti-Imran, it cannot be considered bias unless someone proves that the things published in Tribune are untrue or unfair.

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  • waqarlearner
    Apr 14, 2012 - 9:35AM

    @billo
    Would like to add,if PTI supporters and intellectuals cant take simple crticism http://mittipayo.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/so-imran-khans-the-target-of-your-goebbelss-vendetta/ then what would they to freedom of society and media if they come to power???

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  • S.Murthy
    Apr 14, 2012 - 12:48PM

    Any head of the civilian govt in Pakistan is bound to be a puppet. Imran Khan has readily expressed his desire to be a willing puppet at the hands of the military. Life in the political wilderness doesn’t seem to be as rosy for him as subservience to the military. It may bring out a change in his life but, a change in the political situation in Pakistan will never occur without a people-inspired movement!

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  • Saira
    Apr 16, 2012 - 9:07AM

    Great article, and some really great debates in the comments section. What I find really shocking is that none of the PTI supporters here even attempted to challenge any facts. It seems that they have accepted that Imran Khan can do no wrong and will make excuses for him no matter what he does. PTI supporters are always criticizing personality cults in Pakistani politics, and they are right to do so. But they fail to see that they have turned into the biggest personality cult in Pakistan today.

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