Imran Khan– Pak Army’s pawn or extremist politician?

Pakistan's "selected" Prime Minister Imran Khan during his address at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday. (Photo: AP)

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) week is over, and theatrics of the “selected Prime Minister of Pakistan” Mr Imran Khan can now be analysed. So much desperation, so much bluster and open nuclear threat in the speech from Imran Khan at the UN General Assembly is unprecedented and deserves condemnation from everyone.

What was Imran Khan’s real agenda and what was he trying to talk about? Who was he addressing in his rambling speech littered with so much abuse, so much rhetoric, and so much frustration and anger? Someone summarised that in Mr Khan’s speech he used Narendra Modi 12 times, Kashmir 25 times, Terrorism 28 times and Islam 71 times! Using terms like bloodbath is unacceptable.

Leaders of Pakistan and the Congress party have realised that when nothing works, blame the RSS. Raising the matter of RSS at United Nations was ridiculous since Mr Khan and his band of merry men have absolutely no understanding of the work being done by the RSS. They are simply parroting what they hear from the leaders of the Congress party in India.

Talking about Hitler and Mussolini and comparing them to the RSS and warning the international community from the most haloed podium of the United Nations General Assembly went down very poorly with most world leaders. Everyone was surprised to see the Prime Minister of a country raving and ranting well beyond his allotted time, trying to plead for help while threatening the world.

Khan has openly encouraged the terrorists being supported by his Army in Pakistan to indulge in Jihad and has therefore justified and given permission and encouragement to the terrorist organisations and the Pakistan Army to start sending terrorists into India. At the same time, he is also making an impartial appeal about how Islam is a religion of peace and how Pakistan has been the biggest sufferer of the war against terrorism.

When did Jihad, an Arabic word which literally means striving or struggling, especially with a praiseworthy aim become a term synonymous with terrorism, destruction, revenge and death?

What is interesting is the way Mr Khan tried to take the position of a leader of Islam in the world when he tried to explain, in a desperate tone, how people who follow Islam get offended when the world says anything against their religion. It is another thing that everyone who is not a believer is a kafir. Not once did he say that it is necessary for people who follow the religion to make any changes to themselves. He has conveniently put the entire blame of all the problems of 9/11 and thereafter on the rest of the world. He strongly condemned the use of the words radical Islamic terrorism but did not even once suggest that the responsibility for reining in the jihadists lies with leaders like himself.

His speech the previous day at the Asiatic Society was the same as the one he made in the General Assembly and to be fair to him, he did say that the Asiatic Society speech was a practice speech. He had nothing new to talk about except Kashmir, Islam and how the world needs to so much more for the religion.

Earlier, Imran Khan, sitting with his tasbih while talking to President Trump is a picture worth thinking about. His body language gave away his nervousness. He was appealing to the most powerful man in the world while praying to Almighty God hoping that there would be a miracle. He was desperate for a positive comment that he could take back home something like “winning the World Cup” after his first meeting with President Trump that was apparently set up at the request of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Not once did he talk about the incredible poverty of Pakistan, the major shortage of power, water, fuel and food supplies. He chose not to speak about the illiteracy and the very poor health record of his country. He ignored the impassioned pleas of Balochistan and the other suppressed minorities in Pakistan. He did not speak about the bankruptcy his nation is facing because of corruption and mismanagement and conveniently laid the blame for Pakistan likely to be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on India.

Imran Khan has returned to Pakistan empty handed. His supporters and that large number of journalists were expecting a miracle from his trip to the US. He had assured them that nothing short of a revocation of Article 370 would be acceptable to him! Not only did he not get anything from the world leaders who did not believe a word that he spoke with but also his borrowed plane from Saudi Arabia refused to take him back owing to a technical error and he had to fly home on a commercial plane.

While lending a plane to Mr Khan, Saudi Arabia also assured India that they will ensure that India will not face a shortfall of a single drop of oil. To add insult to injury Saudi Arabia has just announced a US$100 billion investment package in India (Mr Khan would have happily sold the entire Pakistan for 25% of this amount to Saudi Arabia).

Imran Khan needs to stop terrorism once and for all, which will be tough, now that he has unleashed these forces. He needs a buy in from Pakistan Army which still seems to be motivated by Bhutto’s threat of hurting India with a “thousand cuts.” If the Pakistan Army is on his side, he needs to shut down his factories of terrorism. Not only will the world heave a sigh of relief but also his own people, who by his own admission have been the biggest sufferers.

If Imran Khan truly wants to attain the stature as a world Leader he must work for the people of Pakistan. He must focus on building his country and bring back the credibility his country used to enjoy in the world around three decades back. He must work towards normalising relations with India rather than keep competing with and threatening India. A supportive India can do a lot for his broken and impoverished country. Trade must be resumed, and people-to-people interaction must be improved. A safe Pakistan can open the doors to millions of tourists who would love to visit Pakistan. The economy of Pakistan must be revived.

And, only an economically self-reliant Pakistan can hope to find a respectable place amongst the comity of nations.

Is Imran Khan the “selected” Prime Minister being propped up by Pakistan Army? Or the leader of the Muslim world? Or the leader of the Radical Islamist movement? Or the playboy who won the Cricket World Cup and built a cancer hospital? Or the leader of Tehreek-e-Insaaf who Pakistan had thought would deliver them from all the challenges of the previous leaders? Or is he simply “Imm the Dim” as he is popularly called by some political commentators?

Will the real Imran Khan please stand up to be counted?


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