Ramble. Focus. Ramble.

Khan from 2012–Not for the Taliban-hearted!

Excerpts from a NY Times article on Imran Khan, published in the year 2012. Here is the link to the article: Imran Khan Must Be Doing Something Right.

Khan’s campaign strategy is simple: he has promised to uproot corruption within 90 days, end the country’s involvement in America’s war on terror and institute an Islamic welfare state. His quest for a moral Pakistani state and a righteous politics is clearly informed by his own private journey. Famous in the 1980s as a glamorous cricketer, he is at pains to affirm his Islamic identity in his new autobiography, “Pakistan: A Personal History.” A rising politician’s careful self-presentation, the book fails to mention his friendship with Mick Jagger, his frequenting of London’s nightclubs in the 1980s and other instances of presumably un-Islamic deportment, like the series of attractive women with whom he was linked by racy British tabloids. It does devote one chapter to Jemima Goldsmith..

References to Allah’s grace cropped up early on in Khan’s public utterances, but they multiplied as he struggled to break into Pakistani politics. He now casts himself as the archetypal confused sinner who has discovered the restorative certainties of religion and is outraged over the decadence of his own class. “In today’s Lahore and Karachi,” he writes, “rich women go to glitzy parties in Western clothes chauffeured by men with entirely different customs and values.” His avowals of Islam, his identification with the suffering masses and his attacks on his affluent, English-speaking peers have long been mocked in the living rooms of Lahore and Karachi as the hypocritical ravings of “Im the Dim” and “Taliban Khan” — the two favored monikers for him. (His villa is commonly cited as evidence of his own unalloyed elitism.) Nevertheless, Khan’s autobiography creates a cogent picture out of his — and Pakistan’s — clashing identities. There is the proud young man of Pashtun blood born into Pakistan’s Anglicized feudal and bureaucratic elite — an elite that disdained their poor, Urdu-speaking compatriots. There is the student and cricketer in 1970s Britain, when racism was endemic and even Pakistanis considered themselves inferior to their former white masters. Then we meet the brilliant cricket captain who inspired a world-beating team; the D.I.Y. philanthropist who pursued his dream of building a world-class cancer hospital in Pakistan; the jaded middle-aged sybarite who found a wise Sufi mentor; the political neophyte who awakened to social and economic injustice; and finally the experienced politician, who after 15 years of having his faith tested by electoral failure is now convinced of his destiny as Pakistan’s savior.

For many in this new generation of Pakistanis — more than 60 percent of the population is below age 25 — there is little choice between the untried and evidently incorruptible Khan and such repeatedly discredited leaders as Zardari and Sharif. His long and uncompromising opposition to American presence in the region not only pleases assorted Islamic radicals; it also echoes a deep Pakistani anger about the C.I.A.’s drone attacks, whose frequency has increased under the Obama administration. Expatriate and local businessmen, tormented by the stagnating economy (while neighboring India has boomed), line up to donate money for his massive rallies (though Khan himself does not believe, he told me, in “neoliberal capitalism”). Many rich Pakistanis, like Walid Iqbal, the Harvard-educated, Porsche-driving grandson of Pakistan’s spiritual founder, whose embrace of the P.T.I. in November had, he told me, made “national news,” see Khan as someone they themselves would like to be: devoutly Muslim, proudly nationalist, sophisticated, successful. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s private media, which include several raucously partisan news channels, help obscure Khan’s obvious handicaps — the P.T.I.’s lack of a political base in large provinces like Sindh, a P.P.P. stronghold — with extensive coverage of his made-for-television rallies. And it is not inconceivable that the army and the I.S.I. — or elements within — have spotted a likely winner and potential partner.

Khan, who claims that Obama is “worse than Bush,” has been known to pray in public during his rallies, and one of his party’s many vice presidents had in recent days shared a platform with Hafiz Saeed, founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist organization implicated in the attacks on Mumbai in 2008. While Pakistan’s death toll during its participation in the war on terror — 40,000 — was deplored, the harshest words were directed at Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif. Their corruption scandals were brought up and then, unfairly, the brothers’ recourse to hair transplants, which had plainly improved the looks of many of the politicians hovering around Khan.

I am going to stop reading for a minute and take this time to laugh. 😀

Khan’s disparate constituencies can make for some strange bedfellows. Senior members of his party have shared a platform with Difa-e-Pakistan (Pakistan Defense Council), a coalition of extremist groups that includes anti-Shiite militants as well as promoters of jihad against India and America.

There was another small explosion of anger when I asked him about his stance on women’s rights. Khan refused in 2006 to support reforms to the so-called Hudood Ordinance, which exposes rape victims to charges of adultery unless they can produce four males who witnessed their violation. Khan claims he voted against the reform bill as a protest against Musharraf and would repeal the Hudood law altogether if elected. Many liberal-minded Pakistanis still worried about his positions, I told Khan.

And this is precisely why Khan attracts misogynists like Junaid Jamshaid. It is also one of the main reasons why Khan will get absolutely no respect from me, ever!

“Morons!” he exclaimed. “First you have to guarantee basic social and economic rights before you get to gender rights! What is the point of these NGO workers showing up in conservative tribal areas wearing bluejeans?!”

Seriously?!? If you find that this argument makes sense then kill yourself, right now!

Mehmal Sarfraz, a journalist I met in Lahore, said that Khan’s young online supporters had “fascist” tendencies. Many of them viciously trolled her whenever she criticized Khan on her blog and on Twitter. (This is a common experience for Khan’s critics. Two weeks after I spoke to Bucha, Khan appeared on her talk show, apologizing for how some P.T.I. supporters had harassed her online.) They were particularly angry, Sarfraz said, laughing, that Khan’s critic was a hijab-wearing woman. She derided Khan’s view of extremism in Pakistan as the offshoot of the American war on terror. “These jihadists supported by the I.S.I. were in Kashmir well before 9/11. And why does Imran blame Zardari for the drone attacks when everyone knows that the president has no power and the military gave the Americans permission to use the drones? It is because the military and intelligence agencies are backing Imran.”

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6 comments on “Khan from 2012–Not for the Taliban-hearted!

  1. Wyrd Smythe
    December 10, 2014

    Wow, so much chaos in the world. What is the general Pakistani opinion of the US involvement in your country and our drone strikes? If you had your “druthers” would you see us all gone ASAP? Is there any upside at all? The whole thing seems alarming and depressing and scary and where does one go for a shred of truth?

    • hadeelnaeem
      December 11, 2014

      Well the country is in a divide to state the very obvious. The government is more or less liberal and thus in favor of US drone strikes, the opposition is growing stronger however, And the opposition, lead by Imran Khan, is definitely not in favor of the drone strikes. They recently blocked NATO supplies.

      Our army is going through with a military program in order to tackle the terrorism problem now so things are better. There are less suicide bomb attacks, that’s for sure.

      Things are very complicated. I feel that Imran Khan is not exactly the leader that people think he is. A lot of people, particularly the young people, are putting their faith in him for weird reasons:
      1. He is not corrupt because he has never been in power so they don’t really know if he is going be like the others.
      2. He is charismatic and he brought us a world-cup.
      3. This is a cricket-loving nation and so people are all for him because he sort of represents that.
      3. Then there is the fact that ladies find him very handsome.
      (This article can tell you more about Imran Khan)

      Anyway, so Khan is leading this opposition of confused people who think they are standing up for enlightenment but the one place where his political party is in power is going to dogs. His party has been in coalition with fundamental religious parties. His chants against US and their drones is just bringing together a confused crowd. In this crowd are people who just want a change of government and there are those who share fundamental thoughts with Khan.

      I am not sure where this is going but I believe “democracy” is not what we want exactly. Because Pakistan’s majority is confused at the moment. We are following a leader for different reasons. The liberals see him as liberal (because of all his London charisma and all) and the conservatives see him as Taliban-loving and a religion-promoting zealot.

      As to what he really is..
      I believe he is just a man hungry for power. He has but together a party of tried politicians that have known to be corrupt in the past but people somehow think that he can put them right.

      If Khan comes into power there will be a lot of chaos because the leaders that make his party come from different backgrounds and have different interests. They have only joined the opposition to overthrow the government. They cannot work together at all because they all want different things.

      • Wyrd Smythe
        December 11, 2014

        I think that if any country (my own most definitely included) had people who thought as clearly as you do, the world would be a much better place.

        You’re a wonderful example of the value of education!

      • hadeelnaeem
        December 11, 2014

        Oh thank you 🙂

  2. aerial_meds
    December 15, 2014

    “devoutly Muslim, proudly nationalist, sophisticated, successful” – There it is. Just want to have it all, can’t let anything go. Throw in a renown american university (but oh, what about those bloody, drone-striking, nudity-spreading, conspiring-with-little-girls americans now?) and that’s just one big ass cherry on top.

  3. aerial_meds
    December 15, 2014

    And I’d guess the 90 days is because IK wants to torture all the corrupt politicians Batman-style, otherwise he’d have them all out in, hell, a week, with all his magical kaptaaning justice powers. 6 of which days will involve will just staring menacingly at his victims and them running off at the awesome sight of his hunky 60-year-old face.

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This entry was posted on December 10, 2014 by in Pakistan.
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