DEAR Imran: We thought you would be different from the goons we have suffered and still suffer, whose followers round up people, pay them to go to airports to greet them and take them in processions to wherever it is they are going, and, in the bargain disturb the already harried people. On the day prior to your arrival and on the day you arrived in Karachi, August 19, this newspaper carried advertisements exhorting citizens to go to the airport and give you a rousing welcome. I asked your Karachi lieutenant, Nazim Haji, why this was being done, and he told me that he was opposed to the idea but that others in your gang here had prevailed. Should you not curb and educate such elements? On Saturday, when citizens of Karachi were invited to meet you, some 400 of us had to look at each other for over half an hour. You were late. Nazim made the excuse that you had been delayed by the traffic. This raised a laugh. It was the day after the murder of Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Karachi and its traffic and its people were all stunned. Then you announced that your late- coming was not your fault. A good leader does not keep people waiting, and should he do so, even inadvertently, he accepts responsibility and apologises. REFERENCE: DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 03 October 1996 Issue : 02/40 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1996/03Oc96.html#open
Reporter - Imran Khan Speaks Out - Part 1 (DAWN NEWS 31 May 2011)
Imran Khan's "Mysterious Way" to offer condolence with the Victims of Terrorism
I'm sorry to say this, but the bombing of Benazir Bhutto's cavalcade as she paraded through Karachi on Thursday night was a tragedy almost waiting to happen. You could argue it was inevitable. Everyone here knew there was going to be a huge crowd turning up to see her return after eight years in self-imposed exile. Everyone also knows that there has been a spate of suicide bombings in Pakistan lately, especially in the frontier region where I am campaigning at the moment. How was it ever going to be possible to monitor such a large crowd and guarantee that no suicide bombers would infiltrate it? This may sound equally harsh, but she has only herself to blame. By making a deal with Musharraf's government — a deal brokered by the British as well as the Americans, by the way — she was hoping to get herself off the corruption charges that have been levelled against her. What she hadn't taken into account was Musharraf's unpopularity. He is regarded in Pakistan as an American stooge. And the US war on terror, which he supports, is now perceived as a war against Islam. That is why there is no shortage of recruits for the fundamentalist cause here. By siding with him, Benazir was making herself a target for assassination. The sad thing is, she didn't need to do it. Musharraf was sinking and isolated. He was on the point of declaring a state of emergency. Just when it looked as if he had no lifelines left, Benazir came back and bailed him out.
Worse, by publicly siding with a dictator, she has deliberately sabotaged the democratic process. We have an election coming up in January. As leader of the Justice Party, I am running in it but it will be a free and fair election if Musharraf is still in charge. He has dismantled state institutions, such as an independent judiciary and an election commission, and has introduced a controlled assembly, a controlled prime minister and a controlled media. The polls show he can only win this next election if he massively rigs it. That is what he did in 2002, as confirmed by the EU monitoring team. Given the way that she has undermined democracy by siding with Musharraf, I don't know how Benazir has the nerve to say that the 130 people killed in those bomb blasts sacrificed their lives for the sake of democracy in Pakistan. Meanwhile, you can take your pick as to who was responsible for the two bombs that went off. At least three jihad groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Taliban were plotting suicide attacks — but one thing is for sure, there is no shortage of candidates. The war on terror is turning everyone in the tribal border regions into potential guerrillas. Not militants necessarily but disparate groups who are becoming united by their suspicion of America. A coalition is forming, and al-Qaeda is going to be only a small part of it.
Benazir has made enemies for herself in this respect also. She alone among Pakistan's political party leaders has given public support to the massacre of women and children that Musharraf caused when he ordered his troops to attack the Red Mosque in Islamabad. She also backed his attacks on civilians in the tribal regions. Note that Musharraf has called the civilian deaths there "collateral damage" — an American euphemism. Benazir also gave her backing to Musharraf's plan to allow Nato troops to hunt down maybe 200 or 300 Taliban and al-Qaeda supporters in the border region, but in doing that they have merely recruited a million potential supporters for the terrorists. No one in the West understands that the tribal regions of Pakistan have always been an independent entity. They have never been conquered. Every man is a warrior and carries a gun. Even a superpower like the British Empire could not control that terrain. It had to bribe the tribes. I have known Benazir since we were at Oxford together, but we have drifted apart politically since then. Perhaps I could have warned her that her life would be in danger if she returned to Pakistan and had a parade, but I doubt she would have listened. After all, there has been no shortage of warnings from other quarters. But I can tell her this: it is not going to get any easier for her. Whenever she goes out campaigning in public, her life is going to be threatened. It is different for me campaigning in public, even in the frontier region, because I am not perceived as an America stooge, or a supporter of the war on terror. The British do not have clean hands in this latest suicide bombing outrage. Britain is providing a safe haven for Altaf Hussain, the Musharraf-supporting MQM political party leader who currently lives in London. He's been living in London for 15 years and from there he controls Karachi with an iron will through his mafia-like party. It was this political gangster who persuaded Benazir that he could ensure her safety if she returned. The only positive thing that might come out of this horrific bombing is that it will force everyone in Pakistani politics to sit down together at a big table and review our strategy on terror. We have to accept that it is not working, that, in fact, it is making matters worse. It is an idiotic policy because the Americans are pushing people who are in favour of democracy at the moment towards extremism. Pakistan is in danger of turning into Algeria, a country where you had government forces firing on their own civilians. Once the Pakistani army started its latest operation at the behest of the US, the whole border area rose up against it. And because the US has also bombed the area, killing many tribesmen, anyone who opposes the US becomes a hero. The tribesman's culture is a revenge culture. When one is killed another takes his place. That is where the war on terror has been so misguided. It has benefited the people who caused 9/11. And it has made Musharraf — and now his ally Benazir Bhutto — look even more like puppets of America. REFERENCE: Benazir Bhutto has only herself to blame By Imran Khan 12:01AM BST 21 Oct 2007 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/3643478/Benazir-Bhutto-has-only-herself-to-blame.html
THE extreme discourtesy with which Imran Khan reacted to Benazir Bhutto s visit to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital after it had been devastated by a bomb blast last week was, surely, incompatible with the high ideals he professes. It suggests that even before his formal entry into politics, the ex- cricketer is well versed in the antagonistic diatribes that generally substitute for reasoned debate in the Pakistani political arena. Had the prime minister not bothered to visit the site of the explosion, that would probably have given Imran Khan equal cause for complaint. And, although he claims to be non-aligned within the existing political context, he was present at the hospital when Nawaz Sharif came calling, and even allowed the opposition leader to pledge support for his plans (whatever they may be). It is widely being presumed that the hospital bomb was an attempt to dampen Imran Khan s political ambitions. That may or may not be the case, but the tragedy has certainly helped to focus attention on him at a critical juncture in his budding political career. What exactly he intends to set up is as yet unclear, much like his motives and aims. Will it be a political party, as Press reports almost unanimously suggested before the Lahore blast, or a reform movement or pressure group as has subsequently been reported? And does the self-definition matter? The last of these rings a bell. It was a proposed pressure group that made Maulana Abdul Sattar Edhi see red a little over a year ago, leading him briefly to abandon the leadership of his mammoth humanitarian operation in Karachi. He revealed little beyond that his life was in danger after he had turned down an offer to join a subversive lot to destabilise the Benazir Bhutto government, and that Imran Khan was somehow involved in it a charge which, despite its vagueness, the former fast bowler has never satisfactorily been able to explain away. At the time, Imran Khan s association with retired General Hamid Gul prompted speculation that the ex-military intelligence chief, notorious for his Afghan exploits and an inveterate foe of Ms Bhutto s regime, was up to no good. The stigma has not disappeared, and it will be interesting to see whether Hamid Gul has an upfront role in the forthcoming organisation. REFERENCE: Imrans twist and turns DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 25 April 1996 Issue : 02/17 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1996/25Ap96.html#imra
Reporter - Imran Khan Speaks Out - Part 2 (DAWN NEWS 31 May 2011)
That's how "Sir Imran Khan" treat a Saint like Abdul Sattar Edhi
Q. Have you ever been approached by political or other groups for support? (Daily Dawn)
A. Once, I was approached by General Hamid Gul, Imran Khan and few others, mostly military and intelligence officials, who were conspiring to overthrow Benazir Bhutto`s second government and wanted me to get involved. I declined because I am a social worker and not a politician. I also did not want to tarnish the credibility of my organisation by getting embroiled in something that obviously seemed quite disturbing. Eventually, I was made to feel threatened enough to temporarily leave the country. (Abdul Sattar Edhi with Daily Dawn)
Abdul Sattar Edhi, the founder of the Edhi Foundation, is unarguably the most renowned philanthropist in Pakistan. He began his work in 1951 with the opening of a free, one-room medical clinic in Karachi. Currently, his foundation runs 250 centres across the country and houses more than 2,000 children at any given time. The centres also provide free burial of unclaimed bodies, free health care and dispensaries, rehabilitation of drug addicts, free assistance for the handicapped, and family planning counselling. Over 6,000 destitute, runaways, and mentally challenged individuals are also in the foundation`s care. The Edhi Foundation has also managed to raise the largest single fleet of ambulances in Pakistan, providing transportation to over one million persons annually. The foundation is also involved in relief efforts for victims of natural and other disasters on a national and international level. Dawn.com speaks with Edhi to gauge how the foundation has been affected by the ongoing political and security situation.
Q. Your foundation is involved in a range of activities. How do you decide what projects to pursue?
A. My work involves supporting those who have no one to look after them. That also involves looking after the dead bodies and arranging a respectable burial for them. I cannot say no to anyone.
Q. Is there any part of the country where your organisation has encountered problems owing to the security situation?
A. We have never had any serious problems with anyone. There have been incidents reported by our workers and volunteers regarding hide-snatching [during Eid-ul-Azha] in the past, but we are operating as we always have. In fact, we are also planning to establish centres in Tank and Hangu. Even the Taliban haven`t made any trouble for us; they donated money to the foundation and said they did so because I was helping those who couldn`t help themselves.
Q. The foundation has accepted donations from the Taliban; does that mean that you agree with their ideology?
A. No, I do not. I also told them that I do not agree with all the violence and destruction and the effect it has on people`s lives. To that, they said they were not behind the attacks that targeted civilians and ordinary people.
Q. What is it that makes your angry?
A. I don`t get angry – it`s not in my nature. Sometimes [my wife] Bilquis and I have arguments, but that`s all.
Q. Do you think philanthropic organisations such as yours cause the state to further abscond from its civic responsibilities?
A. If the state can ensure that all who are subject to pay taxes do so, that would be a good enough start. If people were to honestly pay their taxes and also give charity, it would solve more than half of the country`s problems.
Q. In 2008, eight children were abandoned by three women at an Edhi Foundation centre. The foundation later paid the families Rs. 100,000 each to take the children back. Are pay-offs of this kind effective when the root causes for children being abandoned are not addressed?
A. Pay-offs are, of course, no solution, and we normally do not hand out money like that. Usually, we give shelter to children whose families abandon them, primarily for monetary reasons. The day people stop abandoning their children at our centres, I will believe that things are changing in Pakistan. But that does not seem to be happening. It is also quite clear that the government does not get actively involved, so I have no hope of people getting support from the state.
Q. No hope? Isn`t that a fatalistic position to take regarding the state machinery?
A. It is. But how can I have hope in a state that is being exploited by the current system – a system that is itself being manoeuvred by groups with no commitment to the people of this country. The whole political frame as it currently exists has to reinvent itself before we can even begin to hope for change in Pakistan.
Q. Have you ever been approached by political or other groups for support?
A. Once, I was approached by General Hamid Gul, Imran Khan and few others, mostly military and intelligence officials, who were conspiring to overthrow Benazir Bhutto`s second government and wanted me to get involved. I declined because I am a social worker and not a politician. I also did not want to tarnish the credibility of my organisation by getting embroiled in something that obviously seemed quite disturbing. Eventually, I was made to feel threatened enough to temporarily leave the country.
Q. How do you see the future of Pakistan?
A. I will continue to do my work and serve the people. However, Pakistan is now at a critical make-or-break stage, and if the system does not undergo a major overhaul, I am afraid that the country may even break up. Given the current conditions, it will take nothing short of a calculated, studied revolution to change things and save Pakistan. REFERENCE: The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org “Pakistan is at a critical make-or-break stage” By Qurat ul ain Siddiqui March 15, 2010 http://archives.dawn.com/archives/66970
The air of mystery surrounding the organisation is likely to be either the result of a deliberate attempt to engage media attention in the run-up to the launch, or a symptom of genuine uncertainty. Imran Khan s indecisiveness is legendary: it was publicly manifested in the way he agonised for years over retiring from cricket, and again in his inability to make up his mind over whether or not to carve a political career. But there is also a third possibility: the reticence could owe itself to the fact that he hasn t yet been told precisely what sort of body he is on the verge of founding. The obvious question would be, By whom? One could hazard a couple of guesses based on the sort of company he has kept in recent years but that would, perhaps, be stepping too far into the speculative realm. It s best to wait and see. However, the possibility should not be overlooked. Imran Khan unabashedly exploited his popularity as a sportsman in soliciting contributions for his cancer hospital project. That was, and remains, a good cause (despite his efforts to use it as a basis for periodical tirades against Islamabad). A political (or semi- political) organisation is a different matter altogether. Imran Khan s criticism of the existing order has thus far been couched in generalities. Almost everyone agrees that corruption is an unmitigated evil, that its tentacles stretch deep into the Pakistani body politic (although Pakistan is by no means the only victim of the scourge), and that it needs to be rooted out. Nor is the proposition that far greater significance should be attached by the state to education and health care by any means original (It s interesting to note, however, that Imran Khan has refrained from advocating lower defence expenditure as a means of funding such benefits. Is this merely a coincidence?) And attacks on the elite are always welcome in countries with yawning disparities of wealth, even when they come from a member of that very class. Where Imran Khan s advocacy of reforms diverges from the line of argument usually adopted by objective intellectuals is in his persistent attempts to convey the impression that the present government is directly and solely responsible for all of Pakistan s ills. That is utter nonsense. Whatever the failings of the current administration and there are many the national woes most worthy of redressal have been around for much longer than Ms Bhutto s tenure in power. It is noticeable that Imran Khan has never commented adversely on the country s most recent (and most disastrous) military dictatorship; when General Zia-ul-Haq asked him a decade or so ago to renounce his retirement from cricket, he veritably leapt at the opportunity. And his current dalliance with General Zia s chief civilian protege seems to ignore the fact that the Nawaz Sharif government s reputation for corruption was at least as high as that of the present regime. REFERENCE: Imrans twist and turns DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 25 April 1996 Issue : 02/17 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1996/25Ap96.html#imra
Reporter - Imran Khan Speaks Out - Part 3 (DAWN NEWS 31 May 2011)
At the Oxford Union of which I became a temporary member I had the priceless opportunity of listening for the first time in person to Pakistan's last great hope for the future, Imran Khan, who arrived to address the Union with the Lady Jemima and a handful of drooling Pakistanis in tow. Dressed in a smart suit and with his height and good looks he cut an impressive figure but what more, without upsetting his admiring hordes, is there to say about him? There he was with his usual routine about 'brown sahibs' and the virtues of native dress but beyond that it was impossible for him to venture. If his minders like the inevitable General Hamid Gul are still pinning their hopes on him, some desperate measures on their part are called for to broaden the scope of Imran Khan's public conversation. Still, it is a sobering thought that he is the most talked about and photographed Pakistani in all the green spaces of the United Kingdom. Which probably means that the modern celebrity business is no laughing matter. REFERENCE: Islamabad Diary : Back to the promised land By Ayaz Amir DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 03 August, 1995 Issue : 01/30 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1995/03Ag95.html
Could Imran Khan be out to avenge a personal slight? It was clearly stupid of the state-run media initially to ignore him in World Cup-related publicity. But his plaints go back much further, in apparent ignorance of an obvious contradiction: why should the government be nice to him when he has gone out of his way to be nasty to it? Then there is the evidence of hypocrisy. A corroborative anecdote may not be out of place. On a private visit to Dubai not many moons ago, Imran Khan insisted on being shot only above the waist by a Press photographer. The reason? Having (rather silly) advised Pakistani youth to stick to indigenous attire, he did not wish to be photographed wearing calamity of calamities! a pair of trousers. Never mind the complex issue of his rather sudden exchange of vows with Jemima Goldsmith after insisting on several occasions that he would settle for an arranged marriage with a simple Pakistani bride not to mention the trail of broken-hearted girl friends. Those are personal matters. But the series of inconsistencies are very much in the public domain, particularly after the acknowledgement of political ambitions. The most generous interpretation of these would be an inordinate level of naiveti. But even that can be a dangerous trait in the political arena, especially in view of a broad pre-existing constituency of admirers. REFERENCE: Imrans twist and turns DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 25 April 1996 Issue : 02/17 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1996/25Ap96.html#imra
Reporter - Imran Khan Speaks Out - Part 3 (DAWN NEWS 31 May 2011)
Imran Khan’s choice of candidate for prime minister has left many of his ardent fans, especially women, dumbfounded. The cricketer-turned-politician voted for Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s nominee for premier, against the advise of many liberal and progressive members within his Tehrik-e-Insaaf (TI). Imran used his solitary vote in parliament in Rehman’s favour, forwarding the argument that the MMA is the only political force that is independent and does not take dictation from abroad. He maintained that he found himself ideologically and politically close to the MMA, which denounces President Pervez Musharraf’s support to the international coalition in the war against terrorism, especially in neighbouring Afghanistan. “Khan has more than a soft corner for the ousted Afghan Taliban,” a senior leader of his party said on the condition of anonymity. “He thinks that the orthodox religious militia did a great service to Afghanistan and Islam before they became a target of the Americans.”
Also, the MMA’s firm stand against Musharraf, especially his series of controversial constitutional amendments, won the heart of Pakistan’s former speedster, he added. Imran’s protracted bitterness towards the Pakistan Peoples’ Party and anger against the Pakistan Muslim League left him with no alternative other than the MMA, which secured 86 votes, including those of the Pakistan Muslim League (N). Khan’s vote for the pro-Taliban cleric has added to the political confusion within his party, which performed poorly in the October 10 elections. “It would have been understandable, had Imran voted for a candidate that was nominated jointly by the opposition,” said a senior Tehrik-e-Insaaf leader. “But by voting for the MMA, he most certainly has lost his standing among the liberal, democratic and progressive elements in society.” Human rights groups and the majority of the moderate and liberal Muslims have been extremely critical of the MMA’s narrow interpretation of Islam and the conservative views of its leaders on women, education, fine arts, television and sports. By voting for the MMA, the Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief has, in effect, endorsed the religious alliance’s stand on these issues as well. Will the women’s wing of the Tehrik-e-Insaaf, led by Jemima, Khan’s British-born wife, endorse the Taliban-like interpretation of Islam? That remains a moot point. Mairaj Mohammed Khan, the Tehrik-e-Insaaf’s secretary general who has spent a lifetime advocating socialism and secular politics, finds it hard to defend the somersaults of the party leader, who has drifted from one extreme (of being pro-Musharraf) to the other extreme (of being anti-Musharraf) within a short span of time. “Even we are finding it difficult to figure out the real Imran,” quipped another of his Karachi-based leaders. “He dons the shalwar-kameez and preaches desi and religious values while in Pakistan, but transforms himself completely while rubbing shoulders with the elite in Britain and elsewhere in the west.” Many in the Tehrik-e-Insaaf would have preferred to see Imran abstain from the voting like the veteran Pakhtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party leader Mahmood Khan Achakzai. “But such political maturity is perhaps too much to ask or expect of Imran,” says a Karachi-based Tehrik-e-Insaaf leader and a close aide of Mairaj Mohammed Khan’s. “It is understandable why people do not take Imran and his party seriously in politics,” he said. “His self-righteousness and high-flying principles fail to explain the contradiction between his strange fondness for the maulanas and his passion for all the good things in life which have come from the west. REFERENCE: Will the Real Imran Please Stand Up? By Amir Zia 9 DECEMBER 2002 http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2002/12/will-the-real-imran-please-stand-up/
Naiveti does not quite suffice as an explanation for Imran Khan s most recent outbursts against Ms Bhutto, which were ill- advised, totally uncalled for, and even callous; the hospital bomb was a heinous crime, and the prime minister had every right to condemn it as well as to visit the site. His inability to restrain his gut instincts even amidst a tragedy of such proportion is not a good omen. Imran Khan does, of course, has every right to participate in politics, even if his experience of power play is limited to cricket board intrigues. He may even surprise sceptics like me. But a great many questions will have to be plainly answered before that transpires. In the meanwhile, the over-enthusiastic faithful would do well to remember that it s wise to be wary of pied pipers, particularly when it is not clear who is calling the tune. REFERENCE: Imrans twist and turns DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 25 April 1996 Issue : 02/17 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1996/25Ap96.html#imra