World Economic Forum - Imran Khan: The face of Pakistan at Davos

Published: January 30, 2011
Email
The most prominent Pakistani at Davos is Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan who was the guest speaker at a lunch hosted by defence analyst Ikram Sehgal, who runs a security company in Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

The most prominent Pakistani at Davos is Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan who was the guest speaker at a lunch hosted by defence analyst Ikram Sehgal, who runs a security company in Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

DAVOS: Every country that matters is here, but where is Pakistan? Pakistanis are found on panels such as “Security Agenda in 2011” and “The Reality of Terrorism” and even there, our representation is weak.

The most prominent Pakistani at Davos is Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan who was the guest speaker at a lunch hosted by defence analyst Ikram Sehgal, who runs a security company in Pakistan.

“The moment Nato leaves Afghanistan, things will settle down. There will be peace and then we can deal with the terrorists,” Khan tells a bewildered Western audience, who mostly showed up to get a good look at their favourite cricket star.

Speaking about Pashtuns, he said it was important to make a distinction between al Qaeda and the Taliban who are Pashtuns and the Pashtuns should not be attacked. “You must understand the Pashtun mentality. If you kill them (with drone attacks) they will take revenge, so there will be repercussions,” he said. “There are human beings and then there are Pathans,” he joked.

“The Pashtuns of Pakistan and Afghanistan are not a threat to the West, al Qaeda is,” he said to a sceptical audience.

Khan explained that Salmaan Taseer’s murder had exposed the extreme polarisation in society. “If the war on terror continues and the US keeps pressuring Pakistan to flush out Taliban militants, this polarisation of society will be detrimental,” he said.

Apart from his well-known stance on the war on terror, Khan advocated that the present government had lost its moral authority and the time was ripe for  change. He warned that if the present “corrupt set up” is tolerated, there may be a revolution made up of young Pakistanis under the age of 30.

“After the National Reconciliation Ordinance was promulgated, the biggest crooks formed the government,” he said, while referring to the country’s top political leadership. He predicted that in the next general election, which he believes will be free and fair, all “the old political faces will be wiped out”.

But Khan also insisted that any form of democracy is better than dictatorship. “I supported Musharraf in the beginning and I admit that it was the biggest mistake I have ever made,” he said. Later in the day, Khan shared panel space with the Indian Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, who forcefully stated that terrorists must be dealt with sternly and there should be swift punishment for those found guilty.

Chidambaram maintained the traditional Indian foreign office line that there are “home-grown modules in India that get support from across the border.”

On a panel titled “The reality of terrorism”, Chidambaram made it quite clear that India was not willing to show flexibility on the issue of terrorism, putting a dampener on the upcoming India-Pakistan secretary level talks at Thimpu.

Another panellist, Tahirul Qadri called upon the West and India to recognise the “root causes” of terror and to immediately resolve outstanding disputes such as Kashmir. However, Chidambaram shot back, “none of the issues (Kashmir or the territorial dispute between Israel and Palestine) justify use of terror. This is not the way civilised societies settle their disputes.”

But Khan insisted that the root cause of terror must be dealt with. “The cancer must be treated and not its symptoms,” he said.

While the security debate dragged on at Davos, it was quite clear that no one – those asking questions or those answering them – had found a fresh approach to deal with problems in Pakistan. The same questions were asked and the familiar rhetoric was repeated.

While back in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous areas, the tribal lashkars and paramilitary forces battle Taliban militants, it seemed like our leadership was making no effort to engage powers of the world on platforms such as the World Economic Forum where perhaps sympathetic ears would have helped. A Pakistani delegation well-prepared to plead their case and defend their position regarding the war against militancy should have been sent. Instead, what the World Economic Forum saw was a cricketer-turned-politician advocating a view that not necessarily represents the official line taken by the government of Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th,  2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (29)

  • Amadeus
    Jan 30, 2011 - 1:52PM

    Seriously, why him!!!Recommend

  • Paras Vikmani
    Jan 30, 2011 - 3:00PM

    its sad tht pakistan represented itself only in security issues and not in economic and financial issues in davosRecommend

  • Asad
    Jan 30, 2011 - 5:35PM

    Asking Imran Khan to come to such a prestigious event shows that for us Pakistani’s its a proud moment. But I am sure people reading this will post immature comments regarding our King Khan.

    My message to them is grow up and think of Pakistan first.Recommend

  • Freeha Shaukat
    Jan 30, 2011 - 6:11PM

    Here is a video of Imran Khan speaking informally a couple of days before the presentation at Davos:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xgrtq1imran-khan-at-davos-religion-politics-and-terrorismnews

    You say:
    “While the security debate dragged on at Davos, it was quite clear that no one – those asking questions or those answering them – had found a fresh approach to deal with problems in Pakistan. The same questions were asked and the familiar rhetoric was repeated.”

    Author what is your fresh approach? logic and history tell us that bombing the crap out of a populace that is primarily innocent (drones have a 2.5% successful strike rate) will radicalize them. After 9/11 the US became radicalized, and look at what havoc they wreaked on the world in the name of War on Terror. 30,000 Innocent Pakistanis have been killed. Once again, what is Your fresh approach to this topic?Recommend

  • Samir
    Jan 30, 2011 - 10:08PM

    He is the face and voice of Taliban!

    Where does he differ with Taliban?Recommend

  • No BS
    Jan 30, 2011 - 11:17PM

    @ Ms Jahangir – two facts that you missed

    PM Gilani and his team were a disaster in the previous trip to Davos at the WEF. They inflicted more damage than good to our cause.
    Imran Khan is being pushed by our military establishment as their new voice. He is in WEF voicing our establishments view point.
    Recommend

  • hashem
    Jan 31, 2011 - 1:10AM

    common sence is a sence which is not common think what he is saying if you have a better plan please share with usRecommend

  • Jan 31, 2011 - 3:44AM

    You know Imran Khan is even older than my father but Imran Khan is still the most handsome man in Pakistan and I would be glad to marry him. We Pakistanis will have the most handsome leader in the world = IMRAN KHAN.Recommend

  • Javed Shah
    Jan 31, 2011 - 11:24AM

    Mr. Khan has presented our national point of view very strongly with data support and logic. There is no economical progress in Pakistan because of continued unrest started in Musharraf era. We need to stand together to bring peace in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Jan 31, 2011 - 12:34PM

    its a shame for PAKISTANI MEDIA not to cover IK who was representing PAKISTAN at such a forum. FYI he is not just a champion cricker he has been the most active politican since last 14 hours. Its unfortunate that our people still want to listen to the man from London and leaders like Zardari and Nawaz.

    Imran Khan at Davos – Religion, Politics and Terrorism in Pakistan

    Even the Indian Media took a 15 mins interview of him, where is the PAKISTANI MEDIA? (short clip of NDTV interview.)
    US has lost battle for our hearts: Imran Khan Recommend

  • Jan 31, 2011 - 12:37PM

    For this so Liberal Army: Can you give us a solution rathen then your typical “Taliban” Taliban rhetoric?? Its the bombings and killings that is creating all the chaos in Pakistan!! Why the biggest army of the world has not been able to control/cabture the so called terrorists in the last 10 years???Recommend

  • Taimoor
    Jan 31, 2011 - 3:43PM

    What a sorry excuse of an article.

    The author indulges in delicious irony by stating that a “well-planned” delegation of Pakistani government officials should have been sent to explain Pakistani stance to the hypothetical “sympathetic ears”, when the reality is that those “sympathetic ears” had no interest in listening to Pakistani officials who were NEVER invited to the stage. Rather, they wanted to lend their ears to a “fresh approach” towards this issue – something the author denied was presented – and listen to this very “cricketer-turned-politician”. Maybe the author does not like the fact that they did not want to listen to a “businessman turned politician”, a “a corrupt husband turned president”, or a controversial leader of an ethnic group turned “revolutionary leader” – nor did they want to hear the Pakistani officials like Hussain Haqqani who can speak nothing but what the typical western mind likes to hear.

    They wanted the “fresh” approach, and Imran Khan presented this “fresh” approach – contrary to the author’s opinion. That’s why the author himself mentions that the audience was first bewildered and then skeptical.

    Pakistan’s face on Davos was quite enlightened, someone who presented original thought and solutions to the problems – very rare in the context of Pakistani intelligentsia, who are thought slaves to the west. Maybe these thought slaves cannot stand a Pakistani who can present original thinking and solution to the problems we are facing; who can see in the eyes of western experts and talk to them with confidence. Maybe it undermines the intellectual slavery of this self-proclaimed “liberal class” – which is anything but liberal, may I say.

    Instead, we should commend Imran Khan for being the voice of Pakistanis on the world stage, for presenting solutions that may not be popular but effective in the long run, for standing his intellectual ground and not dancing to the western tunes. Moreover, it should be recognized through this event that Imran Khan’s stature is that of a world leader, who is summoned on international stage due to his originality, integrity and intellectual approach to problems.

    Not many leaders in Pakistan, or self-proclaimed Pakistani leaders living in the west, are capable of that. Recommend

  • Taimoor
    Jan 31, 2011 - 4:01PM

    Imran Ghazali,

    Do not mention them as “liberals”. They are not liberals, they are brown western clowns. They think liberalism means supporting everything that the western governments do and say. They think opposing religious extremism alone suffices for one to be liberal.

    They are not liberals. The ideology of liberalism stems from the west – and if you look at the western political scenario, those who are liberals are OPPOSED to war, whether in Iraq or Afghanistan. In America, if someone presents a political solution and recommends dialogue, he is accused of being a “LIBERAL”.

    Here in Pakistan, everything is upside down. Fascists start claiming liberalism as their ideology. Those who are involved in political violence and coercion suddenly become liberals by pretending to oppose Taliban. Those who are involved in massive corruption, nepotism and feudalism are considered champions of liberalism just because they do the same.

    In Pakistan, it’s a free ride. If you have nothing to stand for, you claim “liberalism”. The fact is that “Liberalism” has a bad image in Pakistan is due to those political parties which are involved in massive corruption and political violence claiming ‘liberalism’ and “moderation” as their creed.

    So those who are actually fascists, who advocate bombing of villages and towns, who are actually the followers of extremist Neo-Cons in America, who advocate violence by using patriotism and other such slogans – everything opposed to genuine liberalism – claim themselves to be liberal. This is one of the tragedies of this country that a real, genuine liberal class didn’t emerge. There are some genuine liberals, but they are few and far between. Recommend

  • Freeha Shaukat
    Jan 31, 2011 - 4:42PM

    @ Samir, screaming Nazi, or Taliban at sensible people is called slander (as well as a lot of other things)

    Mr. Imran Khan has clearly said that “the Taliban are an embarrassment to the rest of us Muslims…they are medieval people…semi-literate”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRexD2SaYJc&feature=player_embedded

    Yes, he has been willing to participate in negotiations with them as are even the Americans now because too many innocents are getting killed in the blind bombings, and in case you haven’t noticed radicalization has increased due in part to deep thinkers such as yourself.Recommend

  • tahir
    Jan 31, 2011 - 8:37PM

    An honor for Pakistan indeed.Imran you are making us proud again and again.
    Immoral and corrupt liberals have no right to represent us as they are not from us.

    I am amazed the writer wanted immoral,corrupt and American puppet represent.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Feb 1, 2011 - 12:27AM

    Munizae has shown inability to understand one of the most important issues of Pakistan i.e. terrorism. Imran Khan has provided nothing less of a fresh view of looking at the problem of terrorism. His perspective is based on facts and not tempered bu Western media. The reality is terrorism in Pakistan has grown multi-fold as the NATO operations in Afghanistan and Drone attacks in Pakistan have increased.

    [Ref] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ListofterroristincidentsinPakistansince_2001

    The attendees of World Economic Forum have seen enough biased opinions from Western media and a ‘well-prepared’ government delegation from Pakistan would not have the guts to tell the truth. I am sharing from Bob Woodward’s book ‘Obama’s War’; when Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, an obsequiously dangerous man, was notified that the CIA would be launching missile strikes from drones over his country’s sovereign territory, he replied, “Kill the seniors. Collateral damage worries you Americans. It doesn’t worry me.”

    [Ref] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fatima-bhutto/a-flood-of-drone-strikes-b794639.html

    What Imran Khan told the World Economic Forum was exactly the same perspective he gave to a US delegation. US policy in Afghan/Pak has failed and Drones need to be replaced with negotiations with the locals of the area. Taliban are not the locals in North-Western belt. The removal of Taliban is only possible with the help and support of locals and we are not winning anyone’s support if their families keep on dying by Drone attacks.

    [Ref] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/247596?CMP=twt_gu

    Imagine, for example, that burglars move into a neighborhood. If the police were to start blowing up people’s houses from the air, would this convince homeowners to rise up against the burglars? Wouldn’t it be more likely to turn the whole population against the police? And if their neighbors wanted to turn the burglars in, how would they do that exactly? Yet this is the same basic logic underlying the drone war.

    [Ref] http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2010/05/12/the-ill-logic-of-the-u-s-predator-drone-campaign/

    That is the fresh view that needed to presented at this Forum and Imran Khan did it.Recommend

  • Muzammil
    Feb 1, 2011 - 1:38AM

    Well, Imran didnt go there voluntarily; he was invited. the statement “What we saw was a cricketer-turned-politician” doenst justify itself. This “cricketer-turned-politician” is perhaps the only guy who depicts the soft image of pakistan, being chancellor of Bradford university, establishing Namal University and Shaukat khanam.
    He was the only voice advocating / defending people for Pakistan there, while our govt officials to provide official statements were totally missing. All the countries who have proved in past their enmity to pakistan support the actions being carried out by our Govt, and Khan is the only guy who opposes them. He is the only guy who presents a proper plan to cater for the problems, rather than attacking some area by your full might randomly without prior study of area. The writer of this article might want to re-read about the economic situation of our country for starters perhaps. Every bullet we fire, costs us something, and we dont have a single penny to spare.
    With our collapsed economy, when govt is printing new money to cover the deficit, any one advocating for any more army action, just to serve the purpose to appear anti-taliban or anti-terrorism surely needs to read more, and broadly perhaps. There are other ways; much cheaper and chaos free for us to follow.
    I being an ordinary citizen of pakistan fully support his stance and his graceful representation in World Economic forum.Recommend

  • Feb 1, 2011 - 8:01AM

    I love Imran khan no matter why you all say about it.
    All indians Khans ( shah rukh khan, salman khan, amir khan, saif ali khan) still dont add up to our one Imran khan…boo whoo.Recommend

  • M. Rizwan Saeed
    Feb 1, 2011 - 12:13PM

    in the comments which are mentioned above, it is said that “its sad that Pakistan represented itself only in security issues and not in economic and financial issues in Davos”….
    Dear just remember one thing Mr. Khan told us the key solution for each and everything.
    His main point is terrorism and and security issues. And this is the base of each and everything, if your base is weak and flimsy, it is obvious that your next step will automatically be wrong and flimsy.
    For Pakistan security and terrorism is the root cause of every problem. If security is well and good in Pakistan and if there is peace and just peace then there are more chances that there will be a be good economy…….Recommend

  • N.Shahnawaz
    Feb 1, 2011 - 4:00PM

    IK is a person who does not need to hold an office (such as of prime minister etc.) to give credability to what he says. It is his conviction and his utmost belief in the principles of social justice on national as well as global levels that his audience feel. I agree with him 100% that root causes and not the symptoms should be understood honestly and then treated. And what can be new and fresh about the root cause ? It will remain the same even after centuries.Recommend

  • Javeria
    Feb 1, 2011 - 6:40PM

    well i don’t know what author is trying to convey with the term fresh approach, is there any fresh approach of the old issue of terrorism and extremism if there is kindly do share it with honorable president zardari he might use it effectively, and if IK is not a right person to present the right approach to the issues kindly suggest someone who you think have some guts and intellect to see the issue as they are, and even interested in solving them. unfortunately there is none Recommend

  • Imran Khan
    Feb 2, 2011 - 12:15PM

    To whom it may concern.
    Imran Khan says “the moment Nato leaves Afghanistan, things will be settle down. There will be peace and then we can deal with the terrorists”.
    Comments:
    It’s merely hope of Imran Khan with ignoring the following facts:
    1. After the withdraw of Soviet Union there was no peace in Afghanistan but the war expended all over Afghanistan between each of the warlords controlling various clans, tribes, provinces and even on sectarian basis. On the other hand foreign forces like Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arab support their allies to get a government in their favor. The third parties like Bharat(India), Israel and western countries also involved in it so that northern border of Pakistan become unsaved and to get hold on resources of Afghanistan as they have planned it earlier and still doing so.
    2. The mentality of Afghans play a vital role in the game as for example when Taliban’s Leader Siaaf was died, the war and conflict had begun between his colleagues to get control over the money and arms. It proves that they are not being attached with Islam or they are not fighting against the enemies of Muslims. And the game is still on full span.
    Mr. Khan please admits the ground realities and let us has your clear words and thinking.
    Remedies:
    The problems of Afghans can be removed by taking following steps:
    1. Immediate withdraw of all foreign forces including intelligence agencies.
    2. Taking over the military charge by allies forces consist of neighboring countries like Turkey, Iran, China and Pakistan and the countries whose militants are in Talibans like Saudi Arab, Egypt, Syria and other countries. This will eliminate the economic and casualty burden on United States and Europe.
    3. Announce a confirm development program for Afghanistan, Wazirstan, the tribal areas of Khyberpahtoonkhwa like construction of railway line from Karachi and Gawadar to Kabul and all over Afghanistan. Exploration of oil and gas fields, mining, industrial and agriculture development programs. These should have been begin as soon as possible and must be completed in due course of time.
    There will be great affections of the above strategy in change of mentality and to bring peace in the region. The above approach can also be applied to Iraq and other countries.
    I have also prepare an economic policy and named it as “Peoples Economic Policy” which will without involving forces eliminate terrorism, social evils corruption and automatically provide peace, security, health, education and brain washing for all the people specially for woman and children. It will be described if desired.
    Wednesday, February 02, 2011
    Imran KhanRecommend

  • Zazi
    Feb 2, 2011 - 1:54PM

    @Saira:
    Go get him Saira.Recommend

  • Rao Tayyab
    Feb 5, 2011 - 11:47PM

    Salam.

    please do correction. Dr. Tahir ul Qadri was invited as special guest in the world economic forum and 1 more female of pakistan from supreme court also participated. Dr. Tahir ul Qadri even speak on satge too.Recommend

  • Feb 10, 2011 - 2:23PM

    I LOVE PAKISTAN.i likE IMRAN KHAN.Recommend

  • Abdul
    Feb 24, 2011 - 3:22AM

    Topic for Imran Khan was about Extremism. Afghnastan, Terrorism thats why he spoke about these things.Recommend

  • Imran Khan
    Feb 24, 2011 - 7:26AM

    @Javeria:
    To whom it may concern.
    Imran Khan says “the moment Nato leaves Afghanistan, things will be settle down. There will be peace and then we can deal with the terrorists”.
    Comments:
    It’s merely hope of Imran Khan with ignoring the following facts:
    1. After the withdraw of Soviet Union there was no peace in Afghanistan but the war expended all over Afghanistan between each of the warlords controlling various clans, tribes, provinces and even on sectarian basis. On the other hand foreign forces like Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arab support their allies to get a government in their favor. The third parties like Bharat(India), Israel and western countries also involved in it so that northern border of Pakistan become unsaved and to get hold on resources of Afghanistan as they have planned it earlier and still doing so.
    2. The mentality of Afghans play a vital role in the game as for example when Taliban’s Leader Siaaf was died, the war and conflict had begun between his colleagues to get control over the money and arms. It proves that they are not being attached with Islam or they are not fighting against the enemies of Muslims. And the game is still on full span.
    Mr. Khan please admits the ground realities and let us has your clear words and thinking.
    Remedies:
    The problems of Afghans can be removed by taking following steps:
    1. Immediate withdraw of all foreign forces including intelligence agencies.
    2. Taking over the military charge by allies forces consist of neighboring countries like Turkey, Iran, China and Pakistan and the countries whose militants are in Talibans like Saudi Arab, Egypt, Syria and other countries. This will eliminate the economic and casualty burden on United States and Europe.
    3. Announce a confirm development program for Afghanistan, Wazirstan, the tribal areas of Khyberpahtoonkhwa like construction of railway line from Karachi and Gawadar to Kabul and all over Afghanistan. Exploration of oil and gas fields, mining, industrial and agriculture development programs. These should have been begin as soon as possible and must be completed in due course of time.
    There will be great affections of the above strategy in change of mentality and to bring peace in the region. The above approach can also be applied to Iraq and other countries.
    I have also prepare an economic policy and named it as “Peoples Economic Policy” which will without involving forces eliminate terrorism, social evils corruption and automatically provide peace, security, health, education and brain washing for all the people specially for woman and children. It will be described if desired.
    Wednesday, February 02, 2011
    Imran KhanRecommend

  • Imran Khan
    Feb 28, 2011 - 7:53PM

    @Freeha Shaukat:
    To whom it may concern.
    Imran Khan says “the moment Nato leaves Afghanistan, things will be settle down. There will be peace and then we can deal with the terrorists”.
    Comments:
    It’s merely hope of Imran Khan with ignoring the following facts:
    1. After the withdraw of Soviet Union there was no peace in Afghanistan but the war expended all over Afghanistan between each of the warlords controlling various clans, tribes, provinces and even on sectarian basis. On the other hand foreign forces like Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arab support their allies to get a government in their favor. The third parties like Bharat(India), Israel and western countries also involved in it so that northern border of Pakistan become unsaved and to get hold on resources of Afghanistan as they have planned it earlier and still doing so.
    2. The mentality of Afghans play a vital role in the game as for example when Taliban’s Leader Siaaf was died, the war and conflict had begun between his colleagues to get control over the money and arms. It proves that they are not being attached with Islam or they are not fighting against the enemies of Muslims. And the game is still on full span.
    Mr. Khan please admits the ground realities and let us has your clear words and thinking.
    Remedies:
    The problems of Afghans can be removed by taking following steps:
    1. Immediate withdraw of all foreign forces including intelligence agencies.
    2. Taking over the military charge by allies forces consist of neighboring countries like Turkey, Iran, China and Pakistan and the countries whose militants are in Talibans like Saudi Arab, Egypt, Syria and other countries. This will eliminate the economic and casualty burden on United States and Europe.
    3. Announce a confirm development program for Afghanistan, Wazirstan, the tribal areas of Khyberpahtoonkhwa like construction of railway line from Karachi and Gawadar to Kabul and all over Afghanistan. Exploration of oil and gas fields, mining, industrial and agriculture development programs. These should have been begin as soon as possible and must be completed in due course of time.
    There will be great affections of the above strategy in change of mentality and to bring peace in the region. The above approach can also be applied to Iraq and other countries.
    I have also prepare an economic policy and named it as “Peoples Economic Policy” which will without involving forces eliminate terrorism, social evils corruption and automatically provide peace, security, health, education and brain washing for all the people specially for woman and children. It will be described if desired.
    Wednesday, February 02, 2011
    Imran Khan
    RecommendRecommend

  • Imran Khan
    Feb 28, 2011 - 7:55PM

    @Saira:
    You people can’t think more than marriage.Recommend

More in Pakistan