The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) need not set off alarm bells over Imran Khan’s ambitious plan to march to Waziristan just yet.
A day after a number of media outlets reported that the Pakistani Taliban had threatened to kill the PTI chairman, the group denied issuing the threat – saying that their spokesperson had been grossly misquoted.
While they still see him as an “infidel,” and don’t have the highest regard for him, the Taliban still said on Thursday that they would hold a meeting to decide whether or not to allow the PTI chief to enter Waziristan to protest against drone strikes.
An Associated Press report, carried by many media outlets on Wednesday, quoted the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesperson Ahsanullah Ahsan as saying that they would attack Khan during his protest march to Waziristan, because he calls himself a ‘liberal’.
However, in a statement released to the media on Thursday, Ahsan rubbished the report, saying he was misquoted by the AP reporter who added the part about the death threat himself.
“The TTP shura will decide what to do a week before Khan’s arrival and will announce it,” Ahsan said. “It’s sure and clear that we don’t have any sympathy with Imran Khan, neither do we need his sympathy, as he himself claims to be a liberal, and we see liberals as infidels,” he added.
Earlier in July, Imran had announced he was planning to lead thousands of people in a march to Waziristan in September to protest against drone strikes.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2012.