Terming the ongoing war in Afghanistan a ‘jihad’, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan parried a question on Wednesday whether the war in Pakistan’s tribal belt could be labelled as terrorism. He was addressing a press conference in Peshawar after paying a visit to inquire after the health of Malala Yousafzai.
The PTI chief condemned the attack on Malala, saying attacking children was against the teachings of Islam and Pashtun traditions, and offered every possible help to Malala’s family.
Imran added that there was a need to investigate the motivations of various Taliban factions operating in the country, adding that the decision to carry out a military operation in Waziristan in 2004 and the Lal Masjid episode were ‘the main reasons’ behind the violence across the country.
“In the guise of the Taliban, there are several criminal gangs who didn’t even spare PTI workers by demanding extortion money.”
The PTI chief said that “drone attacks are carried out with the consent of the government, and in reaction, Taliban attack civilians.”
Citing an ex-employee of the US Central Intelligence Agency, he said that unless the Pakistani government withdraws its support as a coalition partner on the ‘war on terror’ it will be unable to overcome the insurgency in the country.
“A military operation can be a small part of a larger solution but a conflict cannot be resolved through military operations alone,” the PTI chief said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2012.