Like the country, army supports PTI, says Imran

Published: January 13, 2012
Addressing an audience via videoconference at the Atlantic Council, Imran first appeared on screen eating rice and sipping from a cup, perhaps unaware that the audience could see him. PHOTO: ZAFAR ASLAM

Addressing an audience via videoconference at the Atlantic Council, Imran first appeared on screen eating rice and sipping from a cup, perhaps unaware that the audience could see him. PHOTO: ZAFAR ASLAM

WASHINGTON: In his first appearance at a Washington-based think tank after the Lahore and Karachi rallies, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said on Friday that there was support for his party within the army.

Addressing an audience via videoconference at the Atlantic Council, Imran first appeared on screen eating rice and sipping from a cup, perhaps unaware that the audience could see him.

About the war on terror, Imran said it was important to win the hearts and minds of the people in the tribal areas, adding that everyone carries a gun in the area. He said that earlier Pakistan did not have Taliban. “It took two years of military operations from 2004 to 2006 and collateral damage that created the Pakistani Taliban.”

The discussion, which lasted nearly 90 minutes, focused primarily on the war in the region, and Pakistan’s economic situation.

Regarding the subject of Pakistan-US relations, Imran said the US “should make friends with the people of Pakistan, not with a specific government”. Citing an example of Washington’s relationship with India, Imran said the US has a relationship with Indian democracy, not with any political party.

The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Centre Director Shuja Nawaz, quoting a question he had been asked to convey from someone on the Hill, asked why there was no outrage in Pakistan when militants attack and behead members of the military. In response, Imran said there was outrage, but, in terms of the war, there is also despondency.

Quoting Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani from his briefing at the all-party conference in September last year, Imran said the army chief had told them there were 5,000 to 8,000 Haqqani network fighters, however, the area had 350,000 residents, and if a military operation was carried out there, it would lead to collateral damage. Imran said Gen Kayani had also told political parties that the army had done its job and it was up to the politicians to work towards a political solution.

Imran added that the country had become increasingly polarised, and cited the example of Javed Ghamdi, who he called Pakistan’s most respected Islamic scholar, who had to leave the country as a result of threats.

Questions from the audience to the PTI leader focused mainly on Pakistan’s dismal economic situation. Imran said that his party would soon be holding a conference on Pakistan’s economy and coming out with policy papers.

Speaking on the subject of nuclear armaments, Imran said it was his personal wish to see a world free of nuclear arms, adding that in Pakistan’s case, they acted as deterrents, but suggested safeguards be implemented along the India-Pakistan border. Imran said he did not believe that the nuclear weapons would fall into the “wrong hands”.

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

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Reader Comments (79)

  • ihtisham
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:25PM

    Imran khan is the only true, sincere, honest & visionary leader of pakistan.


  • jai zardari
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:28PM

    the cat is coming out of the bag


  • blithe
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:42PM

    “The ruling elite must have a simple lifestyle.”

    Then why not donate your 40 acre house to the poor of Pakistan????
    Stop being such a first-class hypocrite!


  • Ali Wazir
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:43PM

    A good article by Huma Imtiaz, but the editor should be sacked. No where in article does IK is quoted as saying” Army Supports PTI”. No every headlines needs to be a basis of controversy.


  • Alami Musafir
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:47PM

    I regret doubting Imran in the past. The guy has brains, and it shows. If elected, he will be the most highly educated Pakistani leader ever…and about time too!!


  • Farz
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:48PM

    Khan sahab there were thousands of fanatic roaming around Pakistan prior to crackdown by the Army in 04-06.

    We have to deal with this cancerous ideology in the tribal areas. We tried political negotiations. They FAILED. We must establish Pakistani law and writ of the government there. Pakistani law is not only for urban areas but for entire Pakistan. We will not accept anything less.

    Your policy of negotiating and surrendering to these radicals will destroy Pakistan and freedom enjoyed by it’s people.Recommend

  • Zubaer Ahmad
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:51PM

    Where can I see the the clip showing IK eating rice and sipping from a cup?
    A way to go ahead, IK we are with you !!!Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:55PM

    After giving chance to every one, let us all now give chance to Imran Khan and his party men to exhibit and implement their ideas as how to improve the condition of a common man in Pakistan.

    Imran you have only one and only life line as there will be no second chance in politics.

    If you want to put Pakistan straight in one go, you are welcome. Don’t ask for the second chance like PML-(N), PML(Q) and PPP etc.


  • Enlightened
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:56PM

    Imran deserves a chance! It will be a waste of great resource if Pakistan does not give Imran a chance…


  • Amna
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:03PM

    Farz: Just and FYI, Amreeka wants to talk to these radicals as well, I am sure this changes your opinion…you probably being a “liberal” and all.

    And if a good government comes and actually does develop these areas, that will be the best way to establish law and do away with the tribal mentality, not fighting.


  • SalSal
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:14PM

    First of all, his house is his own and not built by money from corruption. You can’t tell him to donate his family house and then where will he live?? Secondly, he has built a hospital and a university and donated it to the poor. So please keep talk sense or just keep quiet.


  • Zoaib
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:22PM

    @blithe What Imran means is that the ruling elite must live a simple life-style on tax payers’ money so that people have confidence that their taxes are not going to waste and are being used wisely. Otherwise, even Jinnah used to live quite extravagantly, but when it came to public money he kept track of every penny spent. PTI plans to convert all PM and CM houses into educational institutions and get rid of these colonial symbols when it assumes power…


  • Farz
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:23PM


    I don’t care what Amreeka does to escape Afghanistan. Their country is NOT infested by these lawless radical fanatics. Pakistan must NOT tolerate this cancerous ideology. We tried negotiations. Did it help? NO.

    We must establish rule of law and writ of the government in tribal areas. Period. Make no mistake these people are criminals.


  • Falcon
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:26PM

    I think if he were to bring in good governance in the short-term and pursue de-nuclearization of the region in the long term, that will be his best service to humanity. At least his comments have some semblance of long-term vision for Pakistan vis-a-vis others.


  • Falcon
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:35PM

    Let’s for once give in-depth review to the idea of why do we have these criminals to begin with. It is true that extremism has always existed, but its pace has been accelerated because of the war on terror. What you are suggesting is definitely the route in the long-term but taking into consideration our resource constraints, we should remove as many triggers as possible before isolating the true inciters of these crimes and punishing those. That will reduce the time and cost incurred in going after the culprits as well as minimize violent repercussions.


  • Junaid Khan
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:38PM

    I seriously think Express Tribune has taken the duty of very smartly bashing Imran and PTI. Most of the article i read here are biased. I condemn this act of biasness from ET and urge others to condemn this act of ET too. If ET remove my message, i will write this message on all websites.


  • zia ur rehman
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:39PM

    he is talking about “ruling Elite” and he is not ruling….Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:42PM

    I.k .should not get too exicited about the prospects of Army supporting his party, as they know too well that he is new to this game and bit wet behind ears, so will be easier to handle as to do their bidding anyway.
    The problem really is that I.K., simply doesl not have any quick fixes for the problems the Nation faces in all the areas, and the popularism is going to end with time, when those basic problems have not been solved. This Honeymoon period will come to end at some stage .
    So what is the back up plan for PTI and IK? Have they actually thought about it?
    Rest assure that Just to deal with the Country’s Economic Crises is likely to take over an Decade at least, That too if there is stabilty in the country and historically in Pakistan no Govt has ever even managed to fulfil a term, let alone couple of terms !
    So there is no silver lining in the sky for Pakistan, but a very testing time as Nation, especially when one considers the economic activity of some of nations in the region, namely Sri Lanka and Bangla Desh. They will overtake Pakistani economy withing next decade on current course, if not sooner.
    The Alarm bells should be ringing in every Pakistanis ears as to the prospects for the future.


  • hope
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:43PM

    if “everyone” is behind him its great and positive, the only way forward for pakistan. But if its someone else its criminal and unacceptable. All imran khan wants is to come into power by hook or crook. Dont be naive into believing he is our saviour


  • You Said It
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:43PM

    Which constitutional clause gives the Army or the ISI the authority to investigate corruption in Pakistani civil society? This extra-constitutional interference by the ISI has been stunting the growth and maturity of civilian governments. Corruption is a baton to beat-up governments the army doesn’t like.

    If the ISI’s interference ends, the government can institutionalize an independent quasi-judicial body to monitor and punish corruption in government. Unfortunately the Supreme Court has not shown the wisdom to reject the establishment’s interference and push to set up an independent civilian enforcer against corruption.


  • Faheem
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:44PM

    Well I think Imran is a smart leader, yes he will bring a change in the economy, but cannot in his relationship with army, as army is a bit too strong. But i agree with more of the comments, that he must be given a chance to see what is he upto.


  • Ahmed
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:52PM

    God has given you 2 kidneys. If you care so much about others, why don’t you donate or sell one of them to Pakistan? First look at yourself mr. nawaz sharif blithe…


  • ty
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:55PM

    Article is good but headline can be misleading.


  • Farz
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:57PM

    I disagree. These people were always there. Spreading menace around the world. WOT exposed them. Several of them arrived here way back in the 80s. We tried your theory of restraint but it never worked or perhaps failed. They do not believe in Pakistan or it’s laws.

    The key point, I want to raise here:

    Imran Khan if you are so appalled by the US violating our sovereignty. You should equally voice your disgust over these radicals who use Pakistani land for crimes against humanity.


  • zeeshan
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:00AM

    Imran Khan is lies when he says that collateral damage from 2004-06 has harnassed Talibbans. Pakistan had always extremist elements since 80s Afghan War. Army’s foolish policies have developed these elements and these are truly indigenous elements. Khan sahib please keep the record straight.


  • Hedgefunder
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:00AM

    @You Said It:
    Its really time that you people forget mentioning your Constitution, as that has always been abused and played with by whoever is in power in this country since independance !!!!


  • AnisAqeel
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:04AM

    “Says the ISI has reports of corruption of all the politicians, which is why the leaders lose their moral authority.”
    And it is a good source of bargaining and black mailing. Why only politicians, are the people working for the ISI and the Army only saints!


  • Dr Kadar Khan FRCS
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:06AM

    Imran, what about the institutional corruption by the army? For decades they have controlled the defence budgets, launched failed ops (1971, Kargil) and totally failed ”strategic depth’ doctrine in Afghanistan and Kashmir ? If you compare the billions and trillions wasted by the army in these failed adventures, the politicians look a cleaner lot…
    See the bigger picture Imran how the military has manipulated the situation in pakistan for half a century. They will do the same thing to you if you keep on supporting them for short term political gains and then you will look like a sucker.
    Best wishes

    Prof Dr Kadar Khan FRCS


  • USMANx
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:06AM


    Thanks Indian. Now that you have given us the solution for pakistan, you can now go solve India’s public defecation problem.


  • blithe
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:08AM

    Mate, you and other PTI trolls remind me of fascits.

    How can you demand other people to stay quite!?!?!?
    What era are you living in?


  • Realist.
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:08AM

    WE ALL have been saying this , now he said it himself :p
    OUCH :d


  • USMANx
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:12AM

    “The Alarm bells should be ringing in every Pakistanis ears as to the prospects for the future.”

    Gopal, you have been saying that since pakistan was born. Don’t get your hopes up about our demise.


  • adeel
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:17AM

    i see few brothers talking about extremist ideologies existing in pak always…. bt these naive brothers are forgetting tht i could walk around peshawer without being blown up in the market before 2004-2006 now everytime my mother will go to store she has a chance to be blown up. Extremist ideologies exist everywhere,… like the republicans wnt to double the number of gauntenamo prisoners….. banning of masjids n hijab etc…. so mite as well kill all of thm…. We CANT FIGHT IDEOLOGY WITH BOMBS,. IDEOLOGY IS FOUGHT WITH DIALOGUE n PERSUASION n DEBATE. is this hard to understand. I dnt care wht imrans policy is ( unless its anti islam) i will vote for him because he is honest inshAllah. Period. when he loses honesty. he will lose his vote. Name another party i cn vote for.Salaam


  • Farz
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:19AM

    For people bashing Tribune:
    How is the heading misleading? read the first paragraph.

    Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has said that like the country, there is support for his party within the ARMY.


  • Kashif Iqbal
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:42AM

    Does it suit political leader to utter such words that “Army supports him”? Grow up Khan Kaptaan sahib !Recommend

  • QB
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:04AM

    What a wrong headline. Is ET doing it intentionally?


  • khan
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:25AM

    ”Speaking on the war on terror, Imran said that it was important to win the hearts and minds of people of the tribal areas. He said that there were a million armed men in Fata, and that everyone carries a gun in the area. He said that the people of Fata have been warriors for thousands of years. Imran said that earlier, Pakistan did not have militant Taliban. “It took two years of military operations from 2004 to 2006 and collateral damage that created the Pakistani Taliban.”
    i don’t know what this guy wants of him. for once if we take him right in case of tribal belt, but can he explain to us that what happened in the settled area of swat, not every one carries a gun, there were no drone attacksRecommend

  • Saudirules
    Jan 14, 2012 - 2:29AM

    Imran said he was working on a 90-day plan to end corruption in Pakistan.
    This goes to show how great leader IK will be, once he puts his mind to a problem, like corruption, he can say anything! May be that indian fellow Anna hazre can take some lesson from IK.
    PS: I hope, IK fires his kitchen help and gets some practice cleaning dishes, because he will have to clean too many lotas soon.


  • Nomi
    Jan 14, 2012 - 2:46AM

    IK is not the ruling elite.


  • Young but not stupid
    Jan 14, 2012 - 4:58AM

    Name is Ghamidi, not Ghamdi


  • tj
    Jan 14, 2012 - 5:38AM

    I dont think express tribune is doing anything intentionally. It is just that for the past few days express tribune has published certain issues which can be misleading for instance express tribune published some days ago that shah mahmood qureshi said alliance with musharraf can be possible although shah mahmmod qureshi categorically denied it. Even the issue of pti having splinter groups is raised by tribune most of news channels havent even paid attention to it.


  • Junaid
    Jan 14, 2012 - 6:39AM

    Imran Khan is the only one who can unite all Pakistanis.


  • sunny
    Jan 14, 2012 - 8:54AM

    Imran got a point that “if government feel threatened by the military it should go back to people and seek fresh mandate.”


  • Wiseup
    Jan 14, 2012 - 9:20AM

    Imran Khan is the best! Pakistan is waiting for Imran Khan!!


  • Usman Shahid
    Jan 14, 2012 - 9:44AM

    Its a victory for Imran Khan, that those who do not agree with him, newspapers publish too much against Imran and people comment too much against him after reading those articles . Well done, Imran Khan, this is also victory because these people never bother to read about PPP or PMLN but they read about you atleast.


  • kamran
    Jan 14, 2012 - 10:24AM

    Not critcise the MQM In Karachi jalsa shows freidly with goverment allies by PTI and support of army is also with him he admit that.


  • Tariq
    Jan 14, 2012 - 10:31AM

    Mr. Khan, dont be proud, its not a success, You have admitted your defeat. You were alone since 15 years because there was no force behind you… Now with the help of Establishment and United States you are ready to play (A play with the help of umpires)… lolx dont be proud…Recommend

  • Beatle
    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:22AM

    Of-course if Army will not support their own creation, then whome?


  • Javaid R. Shami
    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:35AM

    @Alami Musafir:

    “If elected, he will be the most highly educated Pakistani leader ever…” Really? Have you forgotten that Mr. Z.A. Bhutto had both a Msc in Political Science and LLM from Oxford and Ms. Benazir Bhutto who had two degrees, one from Radcliffe and the second from Oxford? Please, let’s not get carried away!


  • Jan 14, 2012 - 11:57AM

    here, he accepts the open secret. not only support within the army but the party and him is brought up with the full force.


  • MarkH
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:21PM

    I wish people would stop relying on the redundant “everyone else has had a chance, it’s Imran Khan’s turn”Recommend

  • Shah G
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:32PM

    =) not only army supports PTI, they fund PTI as well ;)


    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:37PM

    Imran is talking about living with simplicity “on public money” . Why would IK throw away his money on road to feed hungry mouths ? Is that the solution ?

    PAK doesnt need beggar-making-factories like Benazir Income support programs. PAK needs gov to take the responsibility of health education and services like rest of the world.


  • Ali Tipu
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:45PM

    Army or no Army, I am voting for PTI. I don’t have much options left anyways


  • Malik
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:49PM

    change is necessary and must be requirement for the people of this country.
    we are tired of seeing how well they beat each other politically! there is nothing for people in this war between elite forces of this nation.
    It has nothing to do with common man interest


  • Hassan
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:01PM

    People in army are from the very same society and if large chunk of Society supports him then its likely that people in Army will also like him. Does it mean that they are giving him money like they did to NS? Are they asking other politicians to join him like they did in case of PMLQ? answer is a bigggg NO.


  • nelta john
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:04PM


    Irman Khan was not homest as a cricketer. Do you truely believe as a politician he is that honest when all institutions is Pakistan are corrupt.


  • faraz
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:05PM

    I think the writer here also misquoted Mr Khan when he said that Mr Khan supports disarmament of the subcontinent. He says a nuclear free world. If he does in.any way suggest disarmament of only subcontinent then he has list my vote since Pakistan has more enemies than just India.


  • n
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:17PM

    @junaid Khan
    please explain how!


  • Ahsan Raza
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:20PM

    You believe negotiations work in defeating and “Idea” ! Only Dialogue can defeat an idea which Imran proposes. Terrorism can end fairly quickly but radicalism will have to be eliminated through dialogue .Recommend

    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:22PM

    Imran Khan seems to be an unrealistic leader in waiting, whether it is ‘Taliban’, Haqqani fighters, his economics and world free of nukes etc. People sitting in ivory towers can’t face the ground situations realistically. Not only in this writeup but elsewhere also, he has not put forward any suggetion which can realistically be implimemted.


  • Adeel Ahmed
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:26PM

    He has done more for the poor of this country, than any politician/human being in the last 60odd years of our history…
    If he wants to have ONE property, from his own hard earned money, why cant he?
    You want him to live on roads…? and even then you won’t be happy.

  • Moulvi Nawaz Shareef
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:32PM

    Imram Khan haters can just comment on tribune, these guys leave no chance of maligning Pakistan, Islam and Army…… IK is their hot maligning target, keep on doing it, you guys are in absolute minority and totally hillarious!!!!


  • jai zardari
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:39PM

    I must say that people of pakistan must be congratulated for being so liberal.
    no other country in the world,will accept a leader who’s past is like that of IKRecommend

  • Sarah
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:04PM

    hahahhahhaha @ the photo’s caption. SO CUTE ^_^


  • adeel ahmed
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:16PM

    Nowhere in Interview he said what heading reflect. I request ET to change heading, it give wrong impression and where the context of this statement.


  • Truth
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:16PM

    He build this house with his hard earned money while other politicians looted the country to build their wealth


  • wounded pakistan
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:36PM

    v well said…..secha insan…army is part of pakistan


  • LOK
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:38PM

    We know that already.


  • Eyes wide shut
    Jan 14, 2012 - 4:25PM

    @SalSal: IK supporters can’t handle a little criticism. I dread the intolerance when and IK comes to power. I don’t work or vote for PPP. but the fact is they are tolerant.


  • Kangla King
    Jan 14, 2012 - 4:49PM

    @jai zardari:
    Your comment is spot on dude. Also add Zardari and Nawaz Sharif to the list. People should be saluted. Can we import a political leader? Say made in China? (Excuse the bitterness; I’m only a human)


  • Arif Ali
    Jan 14, 2012 - 5:55PM

    1.Friendly relationships with India setting aside Kashmir,
    1. Accept Israel as a country,
    2. New planned setup in Afghanistan with Taliban,
    3. Stop democratic changes in Pakistan
    Pakistan has new tasks for America and they have find new allies in Pakistan.
    Change with IK??? Just an illusion Just like Change with Musharraf in 1999′
    Pakistan is already on democratic changes and against these changes army needs IK.
    1.1st time in history PPP have non-Bhutto PM
    2.Two main parties have changed to anti-establishment parties even renowned establishment party PMLN too.
    3.Judiciary is on way of freedom
    4..All parties have a consent for parliament supremacy
    And someone is on way to derail these changes …….King Khan.


  • Arif Ali
    Jan 14, 2012 - 5:57PM

    Please understand democracy before you vote,
    It takes many decades for changes.


  • BLing BLing
    Jan 14, 2012 - 7:13PM

    Army also supported the Taliban once. Army also support Amreeka and army even supports drone strikes.


  • Zalim singh
    Jan 14, 2012 - 10:06PM

    of course


  • kfkashif
    Jan 15, 2012 - 1:31AM

    Imran Khan has changed the political dynamics-look how the current Govt has changed its stance towards US-from cowardish to daring-IK has the courage and moral grounds to let our country stand on a equal foooting with other nations- i am surprised if the majority of our army men is supporting PTI from the their hearts- there hearts are not different then the rest of their country men wanting to get rid of the two parties.


  • RajX
    Jan 15, 2012 - 5:29AM

    @sunny: Sure. An appointed military can threaten the elected government at any time forcing them to go through an election process which they had already been through even though their term is yet to end. Fantastic! The only body comfortable and calling the shots in this picture is the appointed army. Very healthy indeed.


  • RajX
    Jan 15, 2012 - 5:30AM

    @Beatle: The most “truthy” statement ever.


  • HotShot
    Jan 15, 2012 - 6:00AM

    Read the same story in the Dawn, Pakistan Today and then Express Tribune and see for yourself the editorial bias. Making a hill out of a mole, are we?


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