Will Imran Khan go to Kaniguram?

Published: September 8, 2012
The writer is Director South Asian Media School, Lahore

The writer is Director South Asian Media School, Lahore khaled.ahmed@tribune.com.pk

Imran Khan says he will take his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to Waziristan in the first week of October 2012 as a gesture to the long suffering people of the tribal region and in protest against the drone attacks there. After meeting a delegation from the Bajaur tribal agency, he also announced a similar march to Bajaur later on.

The initial reaction from the Taliban to this march was negative but the fact that Imran Khan has not set his party against them must have shamed them since their second reaction was mild. Imran Khan says that the security of his 100,000-strong procession will be in the hands of the local population. If the Taliban obstruct him, they will lose the local support, if at all they have it.

The next question that one might ask: will Imran Khan visit Kaniguram in South Waziristan? This is where his ancestors came from. The tribe of his mother — whose name is immortalised in the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital — came down from Kaniguram to live and prosper in India in the 17th century. The people of Kaniguram, now under great stress, recall this migration and will welcome his visit.

A fellow tribesman, Khan Hussan Zia, ex-deputy naval chief, has written in his recent book on the tribe: “Kaniguram is located about 20 miles north of Wana in South Waziristan. Two perennial streams pass through it and the hills are covered with thick pine forests. The town itself is about 7,000 feet above sea level”.

Another co-tribesman from Kaniguram, Khan Zeb Burki, an M Phil scholar and tribal affairs analyst, wrote in Asia Times Online (July 7, 2012) about Imran Khan’s tribal homeland.

“Kaniguram is a densely populated town inhabited mostly by the Burki/Urmar tribe and a mixture of other Pakhtun tribes, including the Mehsud and the Wazir, who are known as kandkimor, live in the upper part of town.

“Kaniguram or Kanigram is known locally as Shora (Pashto) while in the Burki language is called Shor, a scenic place full of natural beauty. Rainwater streams or  ‘lgad’ run on both sides of Kaniguram. The mesmerising beauty of the area once attracted people to the town from across Waziristan and adjacent areas. However, since Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Salvation) by the Pakistan Army in 2009, most residents have been forced to flee the region”.

Burki goes on: “The war forced the inhabitants of Kaniguram to take shelter in other parts of Pakistan. Some left for big cities like Karachi and Islamabad, while others are now spending their lives as 100,000 internally displaced persons in the adjacent districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa”.

Imran Khan’s tribesmen in Zaman Park, Lahore trace themselves to their ancestor, Pir Roshaan. The inventor of the Pashto script — which ensured Pashto literature and writing — and the pioneer of the Rokhaniya or Roshanya Movement, Pir Rokhan or Roshaan, was from Kaniguram.

Khan Wali Khan’s book Facts are facts (1986) mentions Bayazid Pir Roshaan as one of the pillars of Pakhtun nationalism. Today, a nephew of Imran Khan is named after the great poet-mystic, the ancestor of the tribe. Bazid Khan — Bazid is a variant of Bayazid — is the son of Imran Khan’s first cousin, former cricket captain Majid Khan.

Imran Khan has talked about his ancestor Pir Roshaan in his book Warrior Race (London: Butler & Tanner 1993). His presence in the tribal areas will affect the environment of fear created there by the Taliban. Hence, he will challenge not only Pakistan’s policy against terrorism but also the pattern of terrorism practised by the Taliban.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • adam
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:36PM

    dear sir u been to kaneghuram?just writing article sitting in lahore is easy rather appreaciate somebodys effort just criticizing is not healthy sign will he go there or here? Recommend

  • Fahad Khan
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:53PM

    Good to see someone from the mainstream media has appreciated Imran Khan for the peace march to Waziristan. Liberals have constantly been criticizing/mocking the peace march by claiming that it was initially announced for North Waziristan but IK has taken a U-Turn towards South Waziristan after threats from taliban while the fact is that it was announced for Waziristan without specifying North/South. In their hate for taliban the liberals are completely ignoring the risk Imran Khan is undertaking by taking this peace march for the sake of innocent Pakistanis who are being killed in the drone attacks. I hope more mainstream media personalities will come forward and appreciate this great initiative from Imran Khan.


  • Sep 8, 2012 - 11:20PM

    I bet that Mr.Imran Khan will not undertake this march. He will postpone it on one pretext or other.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:34PM

    I hope someone would stop him and his young supporters. He is not only risking his life, he is risking many more lives on this useless adventure. Waziristan is a war zone. The whole area is full of mines, road side bombs, terrorists hideouts and crazy people. No sane person would send his sons to this area. His own sons are living in the safe environment of west but he is risking others parents most precious asset to fulfill his political dreams.


  • sabi
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:35PM

    Fahad Khan
    “Imran Khan is undertaking by taking this peace march for the sake of innocent Pakistanis who are being killed in the drone attacks.”
    If I K finds a different story,which is the opposit what I K presently believes,what would be your reaction.Taliban and tribals are two different entities.Taliban have forced innocents tribals to live their life according to their(Taliban) version of religion.And inside reports says that majority of tribals is not against drones and instead call the drones as ababils. During taliban occupation of swat media showed locals happy with taliban sharia but when army pushed them out of swat the same locals helped army to locate these taliban and some of taliban were hanged on trees. and now they are living peacefull life and nobody wants taliban back in swat.


  • Zoaib
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:45PM

    Good piece. Although I remember IK mentions in his book how his mother’s family actually left the tribal areas due to a long-standing family feud. But he has visited the tribal areas before as well (a result of which was his book you mention) and PTI is quite popular there so he will be welcomed.

    Also, in addition to what you mention of the possible effects of the march, I think it will also engage the youth of the tribal areas in the political process and help in bringing them into the mainstream, rather than being misused by extremist elements.


  • Yasir Mehmood
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:44AM

    Khan should remember what happened to khalid khawaja and col imam.


  • Sir King Kong Bunty
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:45AM

    Imran Khan will not go anywhere. mark my words. HE will sit comfortably in his mansion in Islamabad, skype with his kids, play some cricket with PTI minions etc. It was Mian Sharif who has regularly been to N Wazirsan and not created any media hype about being there. This nonesene of long marches is just a way to fool people.


  • Nisar Malik
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:34AM

    the author is also from Waziristan and is related to Imran Khan. He knows the history of Zaman Park than any one else in Zaman Park. Imran Khan is from jalandhar…and a muhajir Pathan.


  • ikhlaas
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:08AM

    imran khan has always been proud of his pukhtun heritage
    @king kong bunty
    mian mawaz sharif has not visited waziristan


  • shoaib khan
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:29AM

    khalid ahmed is a relative of imran khan. He knows his history better.

    Hence, he will challenge not only Pakistan’s policy against terrorism but also the pattern of terrorism practised by the Taliban. i agree


  • Yasir
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:56AM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty:
    PML(N) Nawaz went to Waziristan ohh that means he is also involved in Talabanization.
    Well Imran will go, date already announced and you will see that will be historic – Please join PTI for better Pakistan and leave Nora League. I left corrupt PPP in 2008 and join PTI in 2009 as Imran is only hope at the moment – thank you


  • adam
    Sep 9, 2012 - 3:21AM

    @fred khan he made u turn over NWA due to on going buzz of military operation in that area ..
    further correct u threat came from SWA area by mehsoods not by wazirs . correct urself plzz


  • adam
    Sep 9, 2012 - 3:23AM

    king kong u talking about mian shaibs mensions?when mian shaib went to NWA correct urself


  • Ejaaz
    Sep 9, 2012 - 3:44AM

    IK’s mother was the sister in law of General Burki, who was part of the cabal that brought Ayub Khan to power. One needs to look at the wealth that Ayub’s family and Burki’s family obtained during Ayub’s rule. Imran Khan’s wealth is no different than the wealth of the sons of Ayub or that of Genral Zia Ul Haq. When one understands that fully then one can grasp the changes that are possible under PTI rule.


  • Shahzad
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:42AM

    Khalid Ahmed is related to Imran Khan please do your homework, before you insult him .


  • Sep 9, 2012 - 4:52AM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty:

    HAHAHAHA, Nawaz Sharif can’t even visit N. Waziristan in his dream, what a joke!

    Nawaz didn’t leave his palace for 4 years of PPP government until he felt threatened by PTI’s tsunami.

    Absurdity of your post is mind numbing, keep living in a fool’s paradise but I shall warn you that election day would be a rude awakening for you and other minion of Mr Sharif.


  • Zahid
    Sep 9, 2012 - 8:49AM

    @md. fayaaz:
    i bet you are wrong. I guarantee that IK goes there.


  • Zahid
    Sep 9, 2012 - 8:54AM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty:
    LOL… i guess you did not hear shahbaz sharif pledge to talibans not to do suicide bombing in Punjab. Nawaz going to waziristan is simply a joke.


  • Usama
    Sep 9, 2012 - 10:27AM

    Mian Nawaz Shreef Never visited Waziristan.. He can visit only Jeddah & London Park-lane…Recommend

  • Bilal
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:13PM

    love the comments the IK will not go anywhere? kids keep in mind that this guy had the guts to call for a public gathering in Quetta when no one had the courage to show up. Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:10PM

    Well written and all that but to be honest quite a pointless attempt


  • Banday
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:58PM

    Khaled sb, fascination of Imran Khan & his family with their Pathan roots is not an issue. Bigger issue remains Imran’s choice of drone attacks as the main menace in tribal areas. Americans are avenging their inability to tame the resistance in Afghanistan through enhanced flurry of drone attacks. However, ceasing of drone attacks is not going to end the captivity tribal population under a self rule of religious fanatics. They are clear in their agenda of banning female participation, bombing schools & beheading opponents in public. I don’t know whether Imran Khan take it as part of Pakthun culture. Rationality demands that he should adopt the easier choice, while remaining selective in intensity of opposing wrongs, which he is amicably doing…


  • Sir King Kong Bunty
    Sep 9, 2012 - 5:52PM

    To all my PTI friends – The proof of the pudding lies in its eating. My hunch tells me this is just a PTI strategy to whip up emotions and and to dissuade army from carrying out operations in N Wazirstan. And this is because PTI and Imran are nothing but puppets in the hands of the establishment/deep state which feels threatened by pressure to carry out N Wazirstan war. Therefore the talks of tsunami in NW is just a topi-drama by PTI/Imran and deep state.


  • don
    Sep 9, 2012 - 6:48PM

    Pakistan army wants operation in North Waziristan after receiving threats from US. But in order to conduct this operation the drone game must be suspended. This is because if the operation is launched and at the same time drones are targeting people, then there may be big troubles for Pakistani army to gain the support of the locals against Taliban. Pakistan’s Govt requested US to abandon drone strikes, but the US counterparts do not agree, as they see it (the operation) merely a double game by Pakistan.
    So the best card that the Pakistani military can play is, to make use of such peace marches in the leadership of their own liked man, known as Imran Khan. This is to pressurize US to stop the drone attacks, so that a military operation (fake one and drama in US eyes) can be launched in North Waziristan.


  • Waiting
    Sep 9, 2012 - 7:29PM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty:
    Unless Waziristan is the name of a room in Raiwind palace, NS has never been there


  • Zahid
    Sep 9, 2012 - 7:47PM

    Great Khan has declared his assets on his web site. Please go there and point to us what property are you referring to. Plus what does Ayub Khans’ family wealth has to do with IK?
    Sad thing is that people like you dont see sacrifices IK has made for his country. If IK wanted to get in power for the sake of power, he would have been you president a long time ago under Musharif’s regime. Get your facts straight and thing before you write.


  • Zahid
    Sep 9, 2012 - 7:52PM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty: wrong again! You are Sharif brothers follower so what would one expect from you?


  • Ejaaz
    Sep 9, 2012 - 9:55PM

    All the land he is declaring as inherited were given by General Burki. All the land that he has sold to sustain his lavish life style over the last 50 years were given to them. There is not a single leader in Pakistan that is not wealthy based on loot and plunder. That includes IK.


  • WB
    Sep 9, 2012 - 11:17PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: What about your Nawaz Sharif will he march to anywhere?? He can only fly to London to visit his billionaire son, who would rather invest money in UK than in his own country! What a SHAME! VOTE FOR CHANGE, VOTE PTI !!


  • kiwi/paki
    Sep 10, 2012 - 7:56AM

    I do not see any threat to Imran Khan’s life from taliban rather he will be properly protected by taliban and the agencies. After all he is promoting their agendas.


  • Qasim
    Sep 10, 2012 - 10:53AM

    Well said


  • Shayan
    Sep 10, 2012 - 12:21PM

    From some of the comments it sounds as if writer is trying to be a little hard or against PTI’s peace march. But I believe writer completely endorses the peace march, and he is giving a new dimension to the topic by introducing Kaniguram and Imran Khan’s link. And he is not stressing that Imran must go Kaniguram, else his march would be incomplete. There develops a hope that people from Kaniguram would come for Imran and his party’s support and would assure that it concludes peacefully.


  • Zigzag
    Sep 10, 2012 - 2:28PM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty: Nawaz Sharif visited Waziristan? When?


  • casim
    Sep 10, 2012 - 2:46PM

    everyone just chill out :) let October come then spill out your frustrations & hate towards IK, before that it is just too immature to give your views, other parties are engaged in power sharing while IK is going around the country to unite all Pakistanis! every nook & corner of Pakistan belongs to us & we should be beside our brother & sisters! Death will come someday you can’t hide & see others suffer, so stop giving this ridiculous remark that people will die, nobody is asking you to go there & nobody is going to die!


  • psychedelic
    Sep 10, 2012 - 4:05PM

    Good lesson in geography – other than that, i fail to see the point of this article.


  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Sep 10, 2012 - 5:34PM

    Imran Khan may be innocent of any charges against him. He might be for argument sake be a very nice man but it is his policy of appeasement towards the Taliban and his close proximity with the religious mullahs which is a cause for concern. He might win the seats in the urban constituencies but the rest of rural Pakistan has no internet connection or electricity and a grasp of education to learn about him. People may criticize me but I feel PPP is coming back again.The people must understand that a rot of 30 years from the time of zia cannot be set back in 90 days etc. All ik supporters from Pakistan , please don’t start abusing anybody who disagree with you. Non resident Pakistanis, in the comfy of their home in Bradford or Vancouver tend to be more holy than the king. We Indian public want a stable moderate Pakistan because you are a buffer against the vile taliban against us. I don’t want to see a talibanized Pakistan at my borders especially since i am a Punjabi from Punjab. Cheerio


  • AS
    Sep 10, 2012 - 10:16PM

    where your long march for NATO supplies and non disclosure of asset has gone sir IK


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