By Omar Ali
I am delighted to see Imran Khan’s interview. Its a very good interview (transcript here as well:http://www.defence.pk/forums/kashmir-war/140450-put-kashmir-backburner-built-trust.html). It may be backpedalled very soon by Shireen Mazari and company..but if he sticks to these views with equal determination IN Pakistan, then the ISI-Paknationalist crowd (who have been excited by him recently, no doubt about it, look it up) will run away from him.
I will admit that I thought when push comes to shove, he will edge closer to the Shireen Mazari faction, not closer to the liberal faction. Lets see, maybe I was wrong. Either way, the excitement in the IK fans will split..his current rise is fueled by very disparate groups. When he starts committing, he will have to alienate some factions. It will be hard to make all of them happy. In THIS interview, he is clearly taking a very sensible line. If he sticks to it, I will become his supporter, but many others who are currently his vigorous supporters will no longer be with him.
The other problem that will invariably come up is that some part of his vision is unrealistic. He implies that he will deweaponise Pakistan and get rid of all militant groups. But armed groups are not disarmed by unarmed ones. He will have to use the army to do so. That part may turn out to be far nastier and harder than he seems to think. That remains one of my problems with Khan sahib. That he does not regard the Islamist jihadist network as a real force, with real supporters inside the deep state. He will be disabused of his notions I am afraid.
I will be happy to have been wrong about Khan sahib if he turns out to be a super-clever liberal who not only sticks to liberal ideas in power, but understands power so well that he manages to carry it off and disarm militants and get rid of their supporters in the state and use force where needed in a smart way and do all that while retaining the support of the Pakistani people. THAT will be wonderful and worth any humiliation as “an analyst who turned out to be wrong”.But my cynical side still thinks that he doesnt fully grasp (or even partly grasp) what the obstacles to such a course are likely to be..or that the “paknationalist” dream is itself a source of many of these problems and that any naive belief in Allama Iqbal, Jinnah and Pakistani nationalism is not compatible with the liberal vision he propounds here.
But good luck to him if this is what he is going to try….
btw, IK fans take note, the one possibility I am still avoiding is the one that he is so capable of double-talk that all this is a ruse. In some ways, I am more of an IK fan than most; I dont think he is flat-out lying.
some quotes from the interview:
… I am not only making a promise to the Indian people, I think I am making a promise to anyone. The biggest problem the United States faces, you know they worry about terrorism from Pakistani soil. Its not just India who is worried. If I cannot stop terrorism from Pakistani soil, I would rather not be the Prime Minister.
…Because I am the one who has received so much love in India. I grew up hating India because I grew up in Lahore and so there were so much massacres of 1947 and so much bloodshed and anger. But as I started touring India, I got such love and friendship there. All this disappeared. And then my closest friend who you also know, Vikram was Indian. So we became very close. So, as time passed I realised that we’ve so much similar history, culture compared to the western countries. We have so much in common. There is so much the people of two countries can benefit if we have civilised relationship.