What Imran Khan is not

Letter March 13, 2012
Mr Saroop Ijaz, for whatever reason has preferred viciousness over sober reasoning.

LAHORE: This is with reference to Saroop Ijaz’s article titled “The lies and triangulations of Imran Khan” (March 11). It is one thing to disagree with someone but quite another to use words like deceit, lies, mentally handicapped etc. There is a way to refute an argument, or indeed build one without being nasty but Mr Ijaz, for whatever reason has preferred viciousness over sober reasoning.

There are, in essence, two issues that bother the writer so much. One is Imran Khan’s vow to eradicate corruption and the second, what Mr Ijaz chooses to allege; his fondness for the Taliban. Let me try and elaborate a bit on both. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Imran Khan are indeed determined to finish corruption from the country and the vow is that ‘high level’ corruption will be finished in ‘90’ days not ‘19’ days. This confusion on the number of ‘days’ is misreporting by a section of the media and it was simply a mishearing of what Imran Khan said. To start questioning his mental faculties on a misreport just shows what kind of hate filled mindset the writer has.

Secondly, on the question of Taliban: again, a section of the media has distorted Imran Khan’s message. A letter does not provide the space to elaborate in totality his point of view but simply put, he does not subscribe to the militant ideology of any of the radical organisations. His point of view is that, instead of carrying out a virtual genocide in the tribal areas through a military campaign, a peace process be initiated in which the local tribes take the responsibility of maintaining peace and isolating those, who when isolated would be nothing more than criminals. Once they have been marginalised they can be dealt with.

People like Mr Ijaz are a rare variety of liberals found only in Pakistan who actually want military operations, bombings, strafing and killings on a large-scale. Imran does not believe this solves anything. Indeed, he feels it adds to militancy because of the inevitable collateral damage. He is a national leader who believes in bringing all the people together, whatever their ethnicity or ideology. This is the core reason why people like the writer himself are so anguished by his rise.

Shafqat Mahmood

Secretary Information

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf

Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2012.