Imran Khan is what he is. A segment of self-styled liberals of Pakistan will keep on waging a war of propaganda against him by portraying him negatively. The latest evidence, proved to the satisfaction of their judgment, would be the fact that militants reposed trust in Imran to negotiate on their behalf, along with four religious figures, to secure a peaceful settlement for their insurgency. Another band of critics, representing parochial political interests, has already unleashed a vortex of Imran-bashing to foster uncertainty at a time when the dialogue process has started, regardless of the fact that he had been a staunch advocate of the ‘give peace a chance’ demand.
There is also a third element in this affair; the militants reportedly were a little confused over nominating Imran as their representative as he did not satisfactorily fulfil their criteria of being religious. Now that Imran has shown his inability, the militants have also voiced their disappointment over his decision to opt out of their nominated committee. Indeed, the militants were rightly confused over Imran’s suitabilityof acting as their representative. But then, the counter-argument, as reportedly debated by the militants, was that they were nominating him as their representative in order to achieve the objective of achieving peace and not to enforce (their own brand of) Sharia. Here, they seem to have struck the right note.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, (PTI) under the chairmanship of Imran, stands for restoring peace in the country through a negotiated settlement between the state and insurgents. It considers dialogue as one of the solutions, a preferable one. When the PTI chairman says that the militants are our own people, he is simply narrating a fact as both the leadership and the rank and file of militant groups are Pakistanis, who have taken up arms against the state. They are a mix of all ethnic and linguistic groups of Pakistan. Narration of facts should not enrage Imran bashers, who mainly belong to a segment which calls itself the educated liberal class. Sometimes, the Nato supply blockade is also clubbed with their propaganda. Nato supplies have been blocked because successive Pakistani governments have claimed that the US undertakes drone strikes without their consent which amounts to violating our sovereignty. Militant groups draw their inspiration from anti-US hatred, which also serves as a major source of motivation for their leadership and foot soldiers. The PTI has refused to let repeated US violations of our sovereignty go un-responded, especially when a US drone strike sabotaged the much-needed dialogue process giving a clear signal that the US would dictate what we can or cannot do to resolve our internal matters. The insurgency that we face has become stronger and more violent with increased US dictations. Therefore, checking or limiting US dictates on our sovereign state is a pre-requisite to dealing with the insurgency, if not for other reasons. Then there are many resolutions of our legislatures coupled with an order of judicature requiring stoppage of drone strikes.
Whatever has emerged during the formation of committees to initiate the peace process has proved the fact again that Imran is neither ‘Taliban Khan’ nor any other Khan. He is what he is: he is Imran Khan who has his own vision of making Pakistan a modern, democratic, independent, corruption-free and a welfare-oriented state.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2014.
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