Imran Khan and the Taliban

People wish to know whether he opposes or approves of the Taliban and exactly how he intends to deal with them.

Editorial August 09, 2012

So many aspects of our politics are marred with irony that at times it becomes impossible to see where exactly reality lies. In many ways, threats made to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader, Imran Khan, by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan are strange. Mr Khan had stated that he would lead a march to the tribal areas to protest drone strikes. These strikes are also fiercely opposed by the Taliban themselves. But it appears they do not want Mr Khan to rally against drones as they argue that he is a ‘liberal’ and someone who, in their eyes, is seen as a person without any religious belief.

This obviously does not conform to Mr Khan’s analysis of himself. He has described himself as a practising Muslim and has come under criticism from many in the country for being ‘too soft’ on the Taliban. In a 2008 interview, he astonishingly announced — despite all evidence to the contrary — that the Taliban were not blowing up girls schools, but that, in fact, it was the government which was making false allegations against them. We wonder if Mr Khan still sticks to this point of view or if the threats made against him will bring about any change in his opinions on the Taliban and their agenda in Pakistan.

The Taliban have now denied reports that stated that they will kill Mr Khan if he went to the tribal areas, with their spokesperson declaring that he had been misquoted. What he did, in fact, say was that an attack will be made on any political leader planning to contest elections who visited the tribal areas as polling was part of the ‘secular’ system in his view and did not conform to the Taliban vision of an Islamic state.

With elections now only months away, Mr Khan needs to make it clear which side he stands on. He cannot teeter on the fence any longer. People wish to know whether he opposes or approves of the Taliban and exactly how he intends to deal with them. The Taliban have made their intentions quite clear and declared Mr Khan a foe and it is obvious that they are not willing to tolerate any view other than their own at any cost.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2012.



Zoaib | 10 years ago | Reply

@sabi :) Dear,

Why did IK celebrated taliban’s imposition of sharia in swat? --- He did not.

Why did he opposed military action against taliban in swat? --- PTI has simply been against military operations from the start and wanted dialogue to be given full chance and if there were military operations to be part of a larger political process. Instead what we had was a full scale military operation (at the wrong time) which did not really resolve anything. The army is still holding areas there and the civilians not ready to take responsibility.

Why does he justify every barbarism of taliban ? ---He does not. He has been condemning suicide bombings even blowing up of schools etc. (as I showed you in the video). But he also wants you to understand that most of this is a "reaction" to what we've been doing in way of military operations in the tribal areas.

Why he has people of JI siting on his right and left? (B team of establishments) ---Last time I checked, he had a former foreign minister (SMQ) ex-PPP and a former member of PML-N (Hashmi) who has been very anti-establishment at his side.

Why he lying about resolution of Pakistan and and favouring Objective Resolution? ---Have never heard of him talking about this.

Why his secretary general participting in banned organistions meeting? ---PTI likes to engage with everyone in the hope of bringing them into the mainstream. There is an idea called re-integration of such outfits into society and nation building. The government has the responsibility to do this as it was the establishment who CREATED them.

Why he calls his critics as American stoogs or liberal fascists or scum? ---Because they have been calling him "Taliban Khan" for simply keeping a different but consistent stand on the war on terror (which now even the world has come round to).

Why he never criticise army interfernce in politics or agencies meddling in politics? ---Look up his speeches during Musharraf era. Why should he criticize the army now and absolve the political leadership when they are the ones constitutionally responsible? If they are helpless, they should resign.

And Finaly How Sure You Are About His Future Promises Given His Record Of U-Turns? ---IK has had this consistent stand on the war on terror for about 8 years now while all others around him have changed their opinions (including this government and military). So I'm afraid I don't see much of a U-turn :)

V. C. Bhutani | 10 years ago | Reply

ET: Why did you withhold the following? Ideas contained in it have been expressed by others in the past. I The rest of the world views Pakistan as a classic example of an old saying which says that if you tell a lie loudly enough and often enough then some people shall start believing you after some time. Another relevant saying is: throw enough mud some of it will stick. Pakistan has been undergoing the phenomenon of Islamization since Ziaul Haq’s time (1977-88). Zia was so emphatic and insistent in his conviction and action that he went so far as to execute a liberal-minded prime minister ZAB, who was widely respected in Pakistan and highly regarded outside. The process of Islamization has now become known as Talibanization which has been taken in hand by the Pakistani Taliban and others of their way of thinking. In fact, it may be in order to say that in Pakistan today there are various shades of Islamization and Talibanization of Pakistan’s society and polity at all levels — to an extent that there is now no constituency for a liberal attitude. To be continued.

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