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Khan and the Taliban

Published Aug 09, 2012 09:07pm


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IMRAN Khan wants to lead a ‘peace caravan’ to South Waziristan to protest drone strikes, but the TTP is having none of it. Speaking to the Associated Press, a TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan has condemned Khan and his ‘liberal’ politics and declared that if the PTI does try to hold his political rally in South Waziristan, the TTP shura will convene to decide how to respond. While the spokesperson did yesterday reject that he had threatened to kill Imran Khan, the crux of his accusation against the latter and the democratic system stand: the PTI chief is a liberal infidel and the democratic system is un-Islamic. To some, the TTP’s outrageous claims will be a definitive rebuttal of the oft-repeated allegation that Mr Khan is soft on terrorism and that he misrepresents the real reasons for the existence of Islamist violence in Pakistan and the region. After all, how can ‘Taliban Khan’ be a friend of the Taliban if they denounce him in emphatic terms?

But that would be to miss the point. The TTP’s loathing for the way Pakistani state and society is organised is so extreme that even flawed political narratives that are part of mainstream Pakistan are viewed as repugnant and worthy of elimination by the TTP and like-minded militants. The denunciation of the PTI’s political platform by the TTP is first and foremost about the danger that violent radicalism continues to pose in Pakistan — nobody is safe, not even those who take up causes, such as opposing drone strikes, that would seemingly work to the benefit of militants themselves.

There is, however, another, perhaps more subtle, point at work here: the politics of Imran Khan, the religious right and even other mainstream centre-right parties in Pakistan help perpetuate the confusion and uncertainty that prevents the public from truly understanding the threat militancy poses to the state of Pakistan and the fabric of society. When Mr Khan argues that if it weren’t for the ‘foreign occupation’ of Afghanistan, militancy in Pakistan would be a virtually non-existent phenomenon — a historically and factually incorrect theory — it only serves to deepen the societal confusion about Islamist militancy that has been nurtured by the security establishment since the days of the Afghan jihad against the Soviets. The Taliban want to remake Pakistan in their own frightening and grotesque image, as TTP spokesperson Ihsan proudly stated. Until they are defeated and the mindset they represent decisively rolled back in society, Pakistan will be in danger. That, more than anything else, is the message the political class should be sending Pakistanis.

Comments (28) Closed

faiza g.r. bhatt Aug 10, 2012 02:56am
best editorial message ever!
Sultan Khan Aug 10, 2012 02:57am
The topics which need to be discussed are blocked by the administration and those which need no further comments are tagged with "Be the first one". However taking this opportunity I must say that Pakistan government has committed another blunder in its flawed foreign policy.
ali Aug 10, 2012 03:41am
But who is going to bell this cat?
Bakhtawer Bilal Aug 10, 2012 04:01am
In the mainstream politics, Imran Khan is pretty much on the very right. According to Talibans, that is not good enough. We better start preparing our stadiums for the display of Taliban justice or otherwise, oppose them clear and loud.
ahmed41 Aug 10, 2012 04:26am
The message is there for all to read and observe. The big dilemma is how to act on the message and change the situation towards a liberal , democratic, tolerant pakistan.
G.a Aug 10, 2012 12:07pm
Perhaps it's time to start a media campaign against these militants on YouTube, press and T .V. Highlight their misdeeds and the future they will bring to Pakistan. Make people understand the horrors they will bring if allowed to flourish. There is enough evidence to back up their atrocities.
Malik Shahan Aslam Aug 10, 2012 07:21am
i appreciate u sultan khan
Ali Aug 10, 2012 09:00am
Another example of the insightful and well balanced editorial by Dawn
Nazar Aug 10, 2012 12:10pm
It needs a honest, sincere and courages leader. Unfortunately I dont see any one of them currently in Pakistan. Gen. Musharraf went after these extremists to the extent of risking his life but propogenda against him is evident in form of a baised public opinion against him as being 'Pro West'.
Mars Aug 10, 2012 11:21am
what a joke ! "TTP threatnes to kill Khan the Clean Shaven Mullah (KCSM) ". When TTP announced this at the same time KCSM was having a meeting with their representative another extremist "the Shaikh" and making an electoral alliance in his drawing room which will bring Tsunami from North to south ! They say "the amn is known by his company". Khan Sahab has never bothered to condemn a single time when the Taliban are destroying all the schools and killing the innocent people of the land. But he wants to lead a peace caravan to south waziristan for waht ! and for whom !. Just wondering what he will to say to those kids who can not go to their schools, to those families whose beloved ones were killed in the suicide bombings in the country. What he will say to those women who are humiliated by the inhumans Taliban on daily basis!
umar Aug 10, 2012 11:40am
With such a huge army..why cant we eliminate these band of terrorists. Use all the military hardware that is proudly displayed on National Day Parades to counter the biggest threat Pakistan has faced since independence. These goons shouldn't be given any coverage on any type of media. They should be annihilated silently from the face of this earth. Soon they will realize that the heaven they were fighting for is actually hell.
Sab Aug 10, 2012 01:15pm
DAWN, you are the pride of Pakistan. The most sensible newspaper in Pakistan.The Western media ie. the likes of FOX news and CNN need to learn from you on how to be "fair and balanced" !. I am an avid DAWN reader.
Janjuah Aug 10, 2012 01:38pm
we must not forget that such elements have been prepared to follow the agenda of those behind them with a supply of emunition and guns..... it is a big game started with the Russian invasion ....................
sabi Aug 10, 2012 02:50pm
Editorial Taliban possibly fear Imran Khan's rally as sort of truth finding mission .They do not want to lose Imran Khan's sympathys in case he finds the ground realities quiet the opposit ,which infact are.
Israr Aug 10, 2012 03:30pm
I wish there were more widely heard voices denouncing Talibanism in such clear terms. I completely agree that right-wing parties tend to obfuscate the phenomenon mostly for their political gains. However, the "historically and factually incorrect theory" does hold water if the ‘foreign occupation’ of Afghanistan is correctly understood to start from the US-led "Jehad" of the late seventies. I have never read of any instance of religious militancy before that point and Muslims of Pakistan did have a peaceful existence without the need to be bracketed as liberal or otherwise.
aditya Aug 10, 2012 03:55pm
u sleep with a snake..get bitten by the sympathies for pakistan
cautious Aug 10, 2012 04:07pm
Nice editorial. The bottom line is that the Taliban don't care whether IK approves of their activities or not - they have their own agenda. The fact that the civilian govt has little (if any) say in military matters also makes IK's views of the Taliban less meaningful.
adithan Aug 10, 2012 04:29pm
India is the perceived and politically convenient enemy not the sons of the soil -the Taliban
sabi Aug 10, 2012 04:38pm
whether Musharaf was sincere or not one thing is cleare, that he badly failed and deep state stood victorious.One who will destroy the myth of the deep state will be the greatest hero after M.A.Jinah.
Mike Aug 10, 2012 05:11pm
I don't understand why the Pakistani public don't demand any action by the Government. I can see public is against these extreme radical view enforcement by these group. It is the public that can demand these actions and make it happen. Unless public is united these politicians or even the military will not act.
Rabzon Aug 10, 2012 05:21pm
Excellent editorial, Dawn is one of my favorite newspapers, its editorials are pithy and always to the point, but this one takes the cake.
Victor Aug 10, 2012 05:40pm
Mr. Imran Khan should realize you cannot hunt with the hounds and run with the hare at least not for ever.
Iqbal Aug 10, 2012 09:01pm
Seems like Nura Kushti between Imran Khan and Taliban
Asif Ansari Aug 10, 2012 09:31pm
DAWN, focus the running situation of Pakistan especially in agencies areas. Americans drone strikes otherside TTP suddenly attacks in center Pakistani innocent people are killing. Imran and other political parties has no solution of this problms, our political partries involve only in TV channel shows. Pakistan army pay huge cost about this problem one side the killing of innocent Pakistani people and other side the Pakistani soilders. These problems started since 1979 and its impact is running continuously till today. We Pakistani does not plan a single plan that how we can go outside the running situation. Only one sentence is enough, "Pakistan will be in danger".
Sattar Khalid Aug 11, 2012 01:37am
Confused piece of writing, be articulate as to what do you really want to say
Ahsan Nabi Khan Aug 11, 2012 01:38am
Correct. Seek The Truth and The Truth Shall Set Youo Free
Amash Qadri Aug 15, 2012 07:07am
Amazing writeup. A precise depiction of Imran Khan's confused political message along with the message of fighting for truth instead of idols or personalities. Probably, the biggest problem with our nation is that we worship people, despite their shortcomings. These days, Imran Khan is the fad and so whatever he is up to will be appreciated by the masses just because we want yet another revolution! And empty barrel can bring no revolution. We had the judicial revolution and the democratic revolution just three years back yet nothing changed, mainly because we went for personalities and not the symbol. If the symbol is democracy, then it demands overlooking any person and upholding the ethics, whether it is Imran Khan or Zardari. Any man can make mistakes but the system should be rigid enough to counter them. For now, I hope people understand that it is better to fight for the right than for a person. If not, then we have yet another Bhutto cult in the making in the form of Imran Khan.
Yawar Saeed Khan Aug 17, 2012 06:05am
and how exactly is the Khan's theory a a historically and factually incorrect theory? just when the author built up the ground to challenge this notion, the article ends. I was expecting some concerete evidence from the author to back up his claim. What evident is however, is that the War on Terror is direclty reponsible for fanning hatred for the west and radicalism in this region.