Imran Khan, knowingly or unknowingly ‘Taliban’ Khan

Published: October 5, 2012

Imran will be giving our enemies exactly what they have been trying to acquire for years; some sort of mainstream political endorsement. PHOTO: REUTERS

Imran Khan is guilty of one of two things. He is either guilty of deliberately and knowingly legitimising the Pakistani Taliban as a political force for what he perceives to be his own populist gain, or he is guilty of colossal naivety and unintelligibility.

Personally, I am far more worried by the latter, and also far more convinced of its plausibility.

Allow me to explain.

Let’s consider the possibility that Imran Khan is indeed playing to what he understands the populist tune to be and that his soft, apologetic stance towards the Pakistani Taliban is a deliberate ploy fueled out of a mixture of two fears; one fear being of his own life and the other being of antagonising his Pashtun support base.

This is not implausible.

It would not make sense for Imran Khan to be making new enemies with elections and his first real chance of being a major part of a coalition fast approaching. This would also allow him the liberty of being able to take a harsher stance towards the Pakistani Taliban once he is actually part of a government and has less, not everything, to lose.

This is what most die-hard PTI supporters will tell you when you exasperatedly ask them what on earth their dear leader is up to. They will tell you with the utmost conviction, that this is all part of an elaborate master plan that will only become apparent when Imran Khan wants it too.

They will tell you, with straight faces, that this is the same master plan that includes Imran Khan’s mysterious ‘team’ of young and brilliant public administrators that can and will only be announced when the ‘time is right’ because , you know, the system would corrupt them otherwise.

Here’s what I think is actually the case. I think that Imran Khan has conflated a number of distinct entities and problems and has ended up thoroughly confusing himself and everyone else as a consequence.

First of all, I believe that Imran Khan doesn’t really actually know very much about the Pakistani Taliban or their, short but colourful, history, profile and goals.

I believe, and fear, that Imran Khan’s conception of the Pakistani Taliban is clouded by his notion and understanding of the Afghan Taliban, and that he hardly takes the trouble to distinguish between the two. I think he has accidentally conflated the issue of drones and the Pakistani Taliban, not realising that opposing drone strikes and endorsing the legitimacy of the group responsible for 30,000 civilian and 4000 Pakistani military deaths is two very different things.

I think Imran Khan truly believes that the Pakistani Taliban have a legitimate cause and that they are people with whom negotiation, dialogue and compromise is a possibility.

Worst of all, I think Imran Khan still has not accepted, and refuses to accept, the fact that regardless of how and why it came to be, this is very much Pakistan’s war now.

Imran has often been, somewhat, jokingly referred to as Taliban Khan for his apologist tendencies, which up till now I have always thought to be a bit unfair. Yet this entire affair of even considering the possibility of relying on the Taliban for security during a political rally is akin to crossing the dangerous line between innocent flirting and unforgivable advance. This is a deplorable and dangerous policy, for if Imran continues to engage and endorse the Pakistani Taliban, it will have the unintended consequence of granting unwanted legitimacy to whatever nutty, far out cause they claim to have.

Imran will be giving our enemies exactly what they have been trying to acquire for years; some sort of mainstream political endorsement.

This transforms them from a purely militant organisation to a political entity and recognised ideology. You can stamp out militants but not ideologies Captaan sab, please remember this. If you strengthen, albeit accidentally, the position of our enemy then the blood spilled as a result will be on your hands as well.

An analysis, of the recent methods of the Pakistani Taliban, indicates an increasing want of political legitimacy and recognition. This is both a sign of strategic maturity and overall weakness. When the Pakistani Taliban was at its peak in 2009 there were attacks on civilians almost every day in major cities. Then Operation Rah-e-Raast was conducted and the Pakistan Army literally killed a thousand Taliban fighters in a matter of days and with them losing much of their top leadership.

Since then heavy amounts of military operations have been underway in South Waziristan and the Pakistani Taliban is decidedly on a back foot, now in a position of relative strength in only North Waziristan. This back foot has dictated a huge reduction in the targeting of civilians and a large increase in the targeting of military individuals and installations. This deliberate sparing of civilians is designed to lure people into a false sense of security, not unlike we did to them in Swat, as if to say that our war is only with your army and not you. This is a classical psychological guerrilla tactic; it causes people to question the role, right and moral position of our armed forces, whom have been valiantly defending the country from the Taliban menace for years now.

In such situations, it is the responsibility of the political leaders of the nation to stand firmly behind their armed forces, building a war narrative, outlawing and delegitimising the enemy, not agreeing to be protected by them. It is the responsibility of our leaders to take ownership of the war, not take the cowards way out by continuing to call it America’s war on terror despite it being quite apparent that the Pakistani Taliban’s war is with us and not with the Americans.

That would be the Afghan Taliban, an older, more mature and politically mature group that has focused goals and is ready to make political concessions. The Pakistani Taliban is nothing more than a group of well trained, naturally warlike criminals and brigands that have delusions of grandeur; of imposing their own draconic interpretation of Islam on a nation of 160 million people.

With a penchant for beheadings and blowing up schools, funded by foreign powers, and comprising of a large percentage of foreign fighters, the Pakistani Taliban is the most backward, savage, cruel and downright despicable group of fighters in the world today. They are dangerous because they are young, determined and well disciplined. The average age of a Pakistani Taliban commander is between 30-35 years, making their rank and file extremely young and immature, prone to the deliverance of absolute savagery and cruelty in the name of Islam. The Pakistani Taliban is our enemy, and he is an enemy we should fear for two reasons, the first being that he is a formidable enemy and the second being that it is only out of fear that Pakistani’s have ever stood united. We must oppose them with all the moral righteousness that they oppose us with. We must fight fire with fire and not cease until ultimate victory is not achieved.

In short, we must clear North Waziristan once and for all, come what may, no matter the sacrifice. It will not be easy, and there will be heavy losses, yet if there was ever an army capable of such a task it is the Pakistan Army.

The, very good, reason that the Pakistan Army does not launch an operation in North Waziristan is precisely because of people like Imran Khan. Public opinion shapers just don’t get the fact that the army is almost powerless without them, or maybe they do, and that is the problem. Unless the civilian government and major public opinion shapers do not stand firmly behind the army in a unanimous and unwavering vow of commitment to the defeat of the Pakistani Taliban, it is not viable.

The moment the operation is launched there will be a backlash in major cities.

Soft targets such as malls, markets, cinemas and public gatherings will be relentlessly attacked by suicide bombers. Support for the war, hardly existent to begin with, will quickly dwindle, with the Najam Sethi’s and Asma Jehangir’s of our society jumping on the opportunity to ridicule, criticise and antagonise our military using the irresponsible media to their full advantage. There will be anarchy like never before in Pakistan, the economy will further plummet, violence will skyrocket and effective public administration, what we need more than anything, will be the least of anyone’s worries.

The Americans, who have been waiting for an excuse, will finally conclude that Pakistan cannot in fact guarantee the safety of its nuclear arsenal and will use the unrest to justify launching special operations to relieve us of our nuclear capabilities. The Army will stand routed amidst the storm of chaos that will begin to rain down and it will have all been for nothing.

Thus the choice lies with us.

Accept this bunch of crazies as a legitimate entity within our country, as Imran Khan seems to be doing, or rid our home of this evil once and for all. The power to fight our enemy lies with us, and begins with our recognition of a common enemy and the need to defeat him.

As always the right choice is the hard choice, but it’s one we must all make, pronto. For in indecision lies only more of the same.

Read more by Ibrahim here.

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Ibrahim Pataudi

The author is the director of business development at TapFwd, a startup based in San Francisco.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Faizan

    GOSH ! You people have still not understood the reason for this march. This peace protest is to make west realize about the drawbacks of drones strikes. And yet you people are calling Imran Khan a Taliban Khan. Seriously it is quite disturbing; where are your articles and blogs when US administration says that it will negotiate with Taliban. Please my sweet liberals get life and grow up.Recommend

  • Mavric

    Very well analyzed article. You are absolutely right when u say that IK is mistakenly or naively equating the Pakistani Taliban with Afghan Taliban. In fact, while listening to IK, I strongly believe that IK is equating Taliban with other tribesmen in general. He has visited the FATA once in his life and he claims that he know the area and the people. And about the drones, I don’t from where he gets his data but I m sorry to say Imran know nothing about who are actually killed in drones. He needs to do a lot of research and study to learn about the FATA situation.
    P.S. Plz be ready for all the abuses which the IK’s supporters are giving to throw at u. Recommend

  • JCD

    The author is supremely confused. For your information, there is little or no presence of TTP in North Waziristan. That area is primarily the domain of the Haqqani Network which is immensely strong and also pro-Pakistan. If the Pakistani state wants to implode, it should follow the authors advice and attack the Haqqani Network. Even the army isn’t sure that they can defeat the Haqqani’s. And antagonizing people who aren’t our enemies and forcing them to take up arms against us while we are already engaged in a war is a wonderful way to commit suicide. Recommend

  • faraz

    The purpose of march is obvious: TTP are innocent people who are being bombed by drones, so Imran asked TTP to provide protection for this rally so that he could become their voiceRecommend

  • Haroon Gul

    All of you Punjabis out there,have your facts straight and you better understand the facts…That the day the punjabi government sold themselves and their families and this turf for dollars to the US allowing them to conduct overt and covert operations through CIA and blackwater,IS the day the Pashtuns started mobilising to defend every inch of their homeland.Just like they defended this whole of Afghanistan including Pashtunistan(Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)by not allowing the Soviets.The ISI had to support because they knew and will always know that only the Pashtuns are warriors who can fight to the death against anyone.Same is the case here,if the Pashtuns were not an obtacle for the west,you would have said your goodbyes to the whole of Pakistan,Sindh,Balochistan and Punjab.Either you people are truly blind and retarded or you just love twiting facts and enjoy sensational lies.You people can never deny the facts just like that pigeon which when saw the cat coming towards it and closed its eyes thinking that if it doesnt see the cat,then there is no cat.Who forced the Pashtuns and gave way to have Taliban get created?Iknow you know who and why so dont kid yourselves…And since the fake Taliban have infiltrated the real ones(which are often caught and who make mischief to malign the real Taliban),the media splashes a negative image…Think about it,what will you people do if someone attacks your homes and wives and children?you would run away towards the border or what?..Or i guess thats already been taken care of already,in the shape of dollars which has infact destroyed the economy,our future and our honor.Pashtunistan will never be conquered nor can its people be sold,their ownselves,their wives,their respect,dignity and children are more important than money.Nobody takes your Bull anymore.The consequences in the shape of Balochistan are infront of everyone.So stay blind in your living rooms you ignorant hypocrites.Recommend

  • Shahid Ashraf

    Nice analysis. I agree with the writer fully! Great writing!Recommend

  • No BS

    Give peace a chance…… is that too much to ask? why this war mongering.

    If IK sounds like a Taliban apologist, you sound like a George Bush apologistRecommend

  • Muzaffar

    Perhaps Imran Khan’s method of tackling insurgency bypasses the author’s head. This is what happens when you sit in an air conditioned room writing a blog with scotch in one hand. You need to explore the real Pakistan dude.Recommend

  • Mavric

    @faraz: “TTP are innocent people”. r u serious?


  • Aasim Mukhtar

    Well, in my opinion, he is not supporting Pakistani Taliban but is againt the collateral damage that Waziristan people are bearing because fo the Taliban. As sufferings increase, only hatered develops and that adds to the cause of the taliban. This is exactly why he is conducting this Peace March. Problem with the international Media and even with us is that we perceive everyone coming from Waziristan is a taliban. We need to analyze that in an attempt to oust the taliban if more damage is being done to the innocent, then its a fruitless exercise and strategy needs to be changed, and this is what he always emphasise on..Recommend

  • Mian Khaliq ur Rehman

    I Think these type of ppl did not learn a single thing form history.. You can not beat them and you are spending around $1 billion per month. I will ask the write if he could give solution of this problem? Do share your thoughts. Recommend

  • Mian Khaliq ur Rehman

    Give peace a chanceRecommend

  • Op

    whats the point of writing this article??? Dear Author, one thing u need to understand that u can fight with anyone but not your own people Recommend

  • Ainee J

    To those of you with the angry and somewhat pointless comments; Might I remind you that this is an opinions section of the newspaper, which caters to just that- opinions. Questioning your precious IKs policies does not make you a punjabi, an enemy of the state, an agent of the US, or an ignorant hypocrite. It makes you brave enough to question what others are blindly following. And all those of you who are bestowing all your trust in IK should perhaps stop and do the same, because if the author is right, and IK is truly a victim of his naivety, we might not have much of a nation left to stand up for. Recommend

  • Tariq Mahmood

    Where did you get your facts about IK not having adequate knowledge of FATA? He wrote a book on it over twenty years ago, FATA is his ancestral home where he continues to have close associations with tribal people. For that reason he feels duty bound to address, in front of the international media as well as the Pakistani public, the plight and grievances of the tribal people who are constantly living in fear of their own lives as well as those that are near and dear to them. Yes Military has its place but in this situation which has been festering for years, it can legitimately argued that if there was a military solution it would have come about by now. So please don’t pass your judgement on people without fully understanding the gravity of current situation which has been crying out loud to be resolved for the sake of long term peace and stability of this region.Recommend

  • Shumail Arshad

    Gosh… These people don’t really understand why Imran Khan going to Waziristan. I guess they don’t want to understand and they have so negative minds that they always want some kind of conspiracy out of everything they see.

    Imran Khan is the very first brave politician and human being to question all the insanity and genocide going on in Waziristan..

    Absolutely rubbish article.Recommend

  • IchDien

    this guy is gonna loads and loads of HATE MAIL for writing this blogRecommend

  • IceSoul

    To all Taliban apologetic here: the US would NEVER EVER negotiate with the Taliban if they were based inside New York and launching attacks across the country.

    And where were the Pashtuns when Pakistan was humiliated in 1971?Recommend

  • Zahid

    @Ainee J:
    HAHAHA… Your English is good, I give you that but your logic of if author being right, makes me puke.
    Its all about integrity of IK and doing what he believes is best for Pakistan and of course he will not be right in everything he does and all decisions he makes but that’s human for you me dear.
    IK is the only politician that dream for Pakistan and has achieved and sacrificed too much for our nation so by golly, I am with him till death.

    How can you not support him? Do you see a better future for us and our children if PPP and Norra league kept on taking turns running the country? I think not.
    Time to stand up and be counted for so I offer my life to great Khan if need be.Recommend

  • Waztaz

    The Americans, who have been waiting for an excuse, will finally conclude that Pakistan cannot in fact guarantee the safety of its nuclear arsenal and will use the unrest to justify launching special operations to relieve us of our nuclear capabilities. The Army will stand routed amidst the storm of chaos that will begin to rain down and it will have all been for nothing.

    I get it! Imran Khan is actually planted by America to destroy Pakistan!! How stupid we people have been!Recommend

  • qmin

    author just one question. IF america being the most powerful country in the world cannot win wars in iraq and afghanistan. Do you think we can especially we have already been fighting this for more than 10 years? Imran khan is trying to bring them into the mainstream and away from terrorism. whats wrong with that? Well agree with his solution or not but its Clearly different and we hace no other options left.Recommend

  • Zahid

    OMG! Did the author really wrote this? What a stupid point and analogy but then what would you expect from someone like him? Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I could not stomach reading it after reading a few lines..Recommend

  • http://comments. Sultan Ahmed.

    Drone strikes,never say it drones attacks i describe it a awkward activities for poor tribal people ,woman and innocent children.These are continued carelessnesly is being shown
    in their commission.
    Reaction in the nation has been created ,people are assembled in response .
    The days are numbered the whole nation will stand against such cruelty.Through such act bringing Pakistan to the stone age that is not acceptable .
    United Nation as a world form of the nation should take action and safe the world from global carnage.
    The future of the of United nation looks not bright in the coming days.
    Russia, China,and other important member of world organization should stand on this bloody drama otherwise chances of breakage of the league of nation would dropped into deep darknessRecommend

  • G Indian

    Excellent analysis “Pakistani Taliban is the most backward, savage, cruel and downright despicable group of fighters in the world today.” The rule for all Talib supporters is simple. Drone strike will stop if you behave yourself in a civilized way. Mind your business and not provoke super powers. Try to live a single day without blowing up girl schools you bloody girl haters. If you mess with American you will pay a price. No question about that as for them war is just like a video games as drones are operated remotely. These primitive rag heads cannot afford to fight a super power. Taliban supporters meet the definition of a psychopath. They do not realize it themselves.Definition of a psychopath ” a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, lack empathy, coldheartedness, lacking guilt”. -Yuck- disgusting people. Recommend

  • http://comments. Sultan Ahmed.

    Imran Khan has taken a start, moving to toward the flash point where innocent women and children are being killed .
    He, Imran Khan is not alone,the whole nation behind him.and ready to sacrifice on him
    There is no leader get out of trench but Imran,he is really deserve of the leadership of the country.Recommend

  • omair zarrar

    A very well analyzed and balanced stuff,BRAVO.Let me apprise you with a fact that pakistani youth is not naive.No one is ever going to support IK for his endorsement of talibans.His ultimate vote bank lies with youth who is very well aware of the menace caused by TTP.As far as his vision about uprooting corruption and strengthening of institutions,i am his biggest supporter.Lets hope KAPTAAN doesnt fall prey to taliban ideology,as he is the only hope left.Recommend

  • Zalim Singh


  • http://comments. Sultan Ahmed.

    All are in trenches,looking at the sky where from drone is approaching
    Imran khan in the battle field having in hand of unique support of innocent
    people,He will American buried American designs in the dust forever.Recommend

  • Ainee J

    @Zahid: Still waiting to hear what credible achievements IK has that has you so mesmerized by him. Your intolerance is quite disgraceful. Again, you completely lost the plot in all your rage- nowhere in my comment did I defend the author, all I said was for everyone to open their eyes to the POSSIBILITY that perhaps Imran Khans approach at this very fragile taliban situation is a little flawed, to question and not blindly follow. You seem to be an intolerant man who has selective hearing and knows very little of what is being said.Recommend

  • Dr Ijaz habib

    Can not agree with the author’s opinion, time to accept the change and break the chaos!Recommend

  • aaaaa

    This started out well, then the author himself got confused about what this article was about, and by the end turned into a seer, or dare I say, prophet, telling us all about the future. The army has used the ‘their is no support for a NW operation’ only as a secondary reason; their primary reason is that we are too stretched and cannot start another operation. The reason they are too stretched is ofcourse all those hundreds and thousands of troops parked on our eastern border waiting for a war with India that will never happen.
    The whole narrative of this article that IK is the reason the army doesn’t go into NW is pretty stupid. The army is quite fine with not going into NW, they have no problems with that. Thus IK and the army have a symbiotic relationship, always have. Which is not surprising given that IK is a product of the army.
    If ever there is an operation in NW, places will get blown up, support will go down pretty quickly. Thus the ‘pakistani public aren’t up for it’ is not a credible reason anyways.

    “Even the army isn’t sure that they can defeat the Haqqani’s.”

    If a 600,000 strong professional force can’t defeat a few hundred well trained fighters, maybe we should stop paying the army. God knows we could use that money better elsewhere.Recommend

  • PTI supporter

    IK’s taliban policy is messed up and the sooner his supporters realize this the sooner will we all be much better offRecommend

  • Zahid

    @Ainee J:
    How can you criticize IK if you don’t even know anything about him or his accomplishment? What does this make you? Please do yourself a favor and do a quick search on the internet for his accomplishments. You will be better equipped to present your opinions and views and not simply putting pointless comments here.
    Again, IK has stated many times that this a dangerous step for him to take but that’s what leaders do but what would you know about that?

    Plus in your own words, this is an opinion section, so I don’t understand why are you getting carried away by my comments. Try to learn to take a little heat dear.
    You talking about others putting pointless comments? Well dear add yourself to that list as well. Recommend

  • Rizwan Ansary

    Imran Khan has often claimed transparently in public that he wants to differentiate within the tribes that enlist both militants willing to destroy Pakistan (Taliban) as well as your everyday tribal who carries an automatic weapon but historically has not shown any animosity towards Pakistan. A drone on the other hand cannot differentiate between the two and ends up killing both. Hence the protest.Recommend

  • Marium

    I couldn’t agree more Ibrahim. Well written!! Recommend

  • Khalid

    @Haroon Gul: Punjabi trash
    will never understand because they are related to sikhs .Recommend

  • talha khan

    this march is only for political stunt, how come after 10 years IK wish to visit waziristan. please understand that supporting such cause can also kill our future prospects. Recommend

  • Zohaib

    As I thought. Express Tribune is definietly an American Pakistani propaganda machine. Not one positive post about Imran Khan was made.

    May the article starter of this post experience hell, because he is ignoring the hell of the drone victims to target Imran Khan… how ironic. Recommend

  • Amna

    @Mavric: “He has visited the FATA once in his life and he claims that he know the area and the people.”

    ok, and I suppose you live in FATA, and so we should take your expert opinion?

    ALso the original poster claims that “this war is our war now”. Which war? What? You don’t even know what you are trying to argue. You claim that Imran Khan is confusing Afghan and Pakistan Taliban, when in reality, that is what you are doing. Americans are in Afghanistan fighting with the Afghani Taliban for the most part right? So when Imran Khan says its not our war he is right, correct? So where is the difference of opinion?

    And as for how to deal with the Pakistani Taliban, if you think negotiations shouldn’t be attempted and we can just fight them and win, you are really delusional.Recommend

  • http://Bangalore Anoop

    I think some Pakistanis are susceptible to man crushes.. You see it with Imran Khans and Shahid Afiridis.. Recommend

  • kazim

    third class article…Recommend

  • http://Bangalore Anoop

    When US came to Afghanistan initially, Pakistani commentators were convinced the Mujahideen could not be conquered through force. Some said defeating insurgencies is tough, some said they are fighting for Islam and hence cannot be defeated, some just mocked the Americans telling grand tales of how Afghans have resisted foreign occupation for centuries.

    When after 2006-07 when TTP started becoming a serious insurgent group in Pakistan, for us in India it was quite amusing. Amusing because the hydra headed monster that many Pakistanis were regaling the world with wonderful tales now grew another head – in Pakistan itself!

    Fighting insurgency is tough. According to some Indian officials you need a 10-1 ratio of men in your favour if you have to defeat them. Guerrilla warfare targets the weakest link, they strike from hiding. India finally managed to defeat that insurgency, though remnants of it still remain.

    Why can’t Pakistan do the same in Pakistan? Simple – Lack of Commitment.

    In the 1990s not a single Indian not support the counter-insurgency movement of the Indian Army. Movies were made on them, for example Roja. They were giving all the resources possible by the country(This also led to Human Right abuses. Soldiers are trained to be less insensitive than the average civilian. And, the country even ignored their excesses).

    Can you say the same with Pakistan?

    1) Pakistan Army is stretched thin. Its largely deployed on the borders of India, still thinking India will attack any day, even though History suggests India has never attacked Pakistan without provocation.

    2) Pakistanis themselves are divided as to who is the enemy. Some don’t even believe TTP are real and think Indians are behind them.

    3) Economy is in the doldrums. Pakistan cannot afford to spend a fortune on counter-insurgency. In the 1990s, India’s growth was tremendous and this helped with COIN.

    I’ll end here.. There are lot more points I can say but I am tired.. I’ll only end with this.

    Imran Khan will only confuse the already confused people of Pakistan. TTP is a virus which needs to be terminated, even if it means sacrificing thousands of soldiers. Imran Khan will tell you Afghan Taliban are warriors, freedom fighters, a political force who are using violence to express themselves, just like the TTP. You cannot target TTP without going against Afghan Taliban, as a result.

    Imran Khan will harm Pakistan more than any politician. Being in India I can easily see this, yet many Pakistanis cant. What a shame..Recommend

  • Parvez

    You are half right (the bit about the TTP) and half wrong (the bit about I.K’s strategy).Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    Imran Khan is an opportunist and knows he can never attain Power by adopting the right causes because these are not just popular with the masses. In reality he cares two hoots for the Taliban. However he does know that the Taliban is the progeny of the Military and Clerical Establishment with maximum sympathizers in those ranks. He is simply positioning himself on the right side of the Political divide, whether it will be positive for him in the long run, I very much doubt.Recommend

  • Syed

    The 3 super powers of the world (USA, GB and FR) could not do much for over 10 years. Even after Usama’s death nothing changed. Every strike always kills some key target of Al Qaeeda an still the light from the end of this tunnel is far from seen. Don’t you get it ? This is not a war of being stronger, harsher, and powerful with Taliban, it is about diplomacy. How hard can you be with someone who thinks death is glorifying? That’s why America’s answer is Drone Attacks which is easy for them but hell for Pakistan because these people do not have US to take revenge from but Pakistan. And do not worry America is willing to talk with Taliban because of which they were planning to open an office of Taliban in Qatar in Jan 2012. Recommend

  • Mavric

    Having been lived in the heart of North Wazirstan for years till 2009, doesn’t that give me a bit of right to comment if IK knows about the area are not. Let me assure u , IK is going to change his opinion soon. Let us hope for the best. Recommend

  • pathay at least read this

    Any entity that seeks to legitimize the taliban (pakistani or afghani) is by association vile and worthy of condemnation but what must be stamped out is the ideology for if the ideology is destroyed the militants will disappear themselves. This ideology is not even limited to waziristan but has seeped into and hitherto infected almost everything and everyone around us from these barbaric protests to the herofication of mumtaz qadri but the answer lies not in ramping up military action as the military only functions properly and usefully as a deterrent and looking in hindsight it is clearly the military that got us here in the first place under the leadership of zia and up till the early 2000s the army even advocated on their behalf to the pentagon. I dont want to ramble on on and I am not a supporter of imran khan but if the militants are to be defeated than their power must be taken from and that power is in the populist sentiment they have cultivated from years of drone attacks, joblessness , economic disparity and the state regarding their lives as expendable imran khan has just gone there to show the people that they are a part of pakistan and this sentiment should be appreciated rather than maligned. Recommend

  • Raheel

    Express Tribune, knowingly or unknowingly ‘pro war and American Mouthpiece’ – My verdict!Recommend

  • Azhar Nadeem

    Pakistanis has developed a habit of looking at everything with suspicion..This article is reflection of the sameRecommend

  • Hassan

    The writer, ‘knowingly or unknowingly’ doesn’t know anything. – My verdict. Recommend

  • Freelancer

    Guys, there is hell of difference between opinion and established truth. Don’t believe ? Then see this opinion article. Author has very good expression and I really loved the way he handles the perplexing past tense. Plus, he can use some very good words with incredible accuracy, to some extent. And one thing more, he can compose words at a very good keyboard speed of around 45-words per minute. Well-crafted and magnificently fabricated diction. Guys, the writer deserves kudos — Pls stop fighting and no hatred please .. :-D Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    What’s most scary to me, after having read so many of these comments, is that people are truly straddling the fence on the question of whether this is our war or not. I wrote this article assuming that most ET readers don’t live under a giant rock and are aware of certain facts.

    Firstly, the Taliban don’t represent the populations of N and S Waziristan. They are a band of fighters numbering between 10 to 15 thousand at most. They are hated and despised by local Waziri’s, mostly because much of their leadership and directive comes from foreign fighters- Uzbek’s, Tajik’s, Arab’s, Libyan’s, etc. Evidence for the hate for the Taliban is not hard to find, your precious ET reports the innumerable local Lashkar’s that have taken up arms against the Pakistani Taliban. Another interesting and somewhat ironic (in the context of some of the more ridiculous comments) fact is that local Waziri’s hate the Taliban because of the amount of Punjabi fighters in their ranks. They are discernible from the Afghan Taliban; the Afghan Taliban publivly denounces the methods and policies of the Pakistani Taliban all the time. The Afghan Taliban is a political entity, with grass root support and diplomatic ability. The Pakistani Taliban is essentially just a very large and well armed criminal organization. The Afghan Taliban looks up to figureheads like Mullah Omer. The Pakistani Taliban was led by Bait’Ullah Mehsud, an ex bus window cleaner who had a penchant for murder.

    Let me be very clear. Drone strikes are downright evil and the US government is committing nothing short of terrorism itself by continuing to target people with drone strikes, despite the collateral damage and deaths of innocents. Let me also be very clear when I say that lumping the issue of drones and the PT together is extremely dangerous. Drone strikes should be protested and I salute IK for taking up the cause. But when he softens his stance towards the Taliban in the process, I cannot help but raise my voice against what I view to be irresponsible leadership.

    Imran Khan should hold a thousand rallies in Waziristan, but he should learn to do that without making it look like he’s playing ‘diplomat’ to the Pakistani Taliban. Recommend

  • kdada

    @faraz: I feel sorry for you. it seems that you live far from reality in your own dream world. first step for you now is go back and make your self aware of PTI anti war/violence stance and the reason for this march and how it will highlight the plight of the innocent people affected by drones who are labelled as collateral damage. Recommend

  • Ali Syed

    I read the article and my response is this: I will vote for PTI in the next general elections. Cheers!Recommend

  • umer

    wasted 15 mins…. ET have some class!Recommend

  • salman

    So are you saying Obama has got it wrong because he is ready for peace negotiations with the taliban? Imran is on record for saying he wants to implement rule of law as the ultimate goal. There is a difference between siding with terrorist groups and requesting an end to drone attacks which many simply don’t get.Recommend

  • Ahsan Jahangir

    I strongly disagree with the author, why would you think in such a way. IK fears his life? I dont think so, No other leaders have the guts to even come out in public, its only IK who has always done so and even today in the peace rally he is headed to the most dangerous places on earth even after threats from taliban. We have been involved in this so called war in terror for so many years, we have suffered too much. Give peace a chance.Recommend

  • Dawood Sajjad

    These so-called liberals. Get a life dude. Imran deserves respect. Has war given u a solution? NO, right? Then please let Imran give peace a chance. And stop writingRecommend

  • safwan umair

    @ ibrahim ….. maybe liberal fascists like you will raise your voice against drone strikes when your own families are affected by them. You can’t feel the pain of losing a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a friend to a predatory missile cause your either just too selfish or blinded by some personal bias. This march was never to support TTP or any other organization, it was meant to support the innocent civilians residing in the tribal areas and highlight the fact that their lives have been devastated by these hellish strikes. And you know what’s more shameful??? journalists and human rights activists from the U.S can feel the pain of the drone attack victims, but you cant? Think about it dude!Recommend

  • Mavric

    @Tariq Mahmood: I never knew IK has an ancestral home at FATA. I think he doesnt know that too. He wrote a book about FATA, which book bro? My knowledge about FATA is based on first hand information for being based in the area. Recommend

  • Mavric

    @omair zarrar:
    Bro u have summarized in few lines what the writer wrote in his entire article. I also support IK for his determination to root out corruption and his assertion that all the appointments should be made on merit only but I am afraid IK unknowingly or knowingly support of TTP is biggest shortcoming. I have yet to see him even condemning a terrorist attack. Moreover his data on civilian causality is not based on facts as 90 % of those killed in drones where hardcore militants or terrorists. I wish he realizes his mistake as soon as possible as it will be a good omen for Pakistan. Recommend

  • amused guy

    @umer: It seriously took you 15 mins to read that? hahahahaRecommend

  • Khan baba

    I don’t think this writer is very liberal at all… in fact i think he is quite overtly rightist. Recommend

  • Ahsan Ikhlas

    extremely balanced and spectacular analysis of a complex situation developing in the waziristan agency. patuadi shows immense maturity in understanding the challenges at hand.

    Declan Walsh has written an account on the dramatic rise and consolidation of Pakistan’s taliban forces in his treatise “Arithmetic on the frontier” that featured in the september 2010 issue of the literary magazine Granta ( makes for a great insight on the early beginnings of the taliban problem.

    Since both PPP and PML-N (the controlling parities of our political landscape) are apathetic to the army, IK may well be propped by the army for leveraging their position in dealing with the obama administration.Recommend

  • Maliha Rao

    Gosh!! We cant be happy with anything can we? WHy do we ALWAYS have to look at things negatively?
    Specially when it comes to writing about political parties. All this article was filled with was ASSUMPTIONS. I am sure the writer of this article havent been hit with a drone yet eh? I suggest Mr Ibrahim Pataudi that you go meet Imran Khan in person as well as the TTP and THEN justify your Assumptions.
    And for once For God sake be happy that someone is atleast TRYING like he is and not sitting on their ass just typing out nonsensical articles like you!Recommend

  • Rafiq

    Yes you are very wise of electing PPP and PMLN.Recommend

  • Aviator

    Not a single PTI supporter has has even bothered to intellectually address the point raised in the article: How IK intends to stop the Talibans acts of terrorism against pakistanis, as we have seen today with the shooting of Mala.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Can the author match the credentials of Imran Khan?

    . a world class cricketer,
    . got married to the daughter of a billionair Jew
    . has the ability to raise funds from within and outside of Pakistan great sums for a hospital.
    . full support from the zionist controlled western media.
    . expertise in winning the hearts of men and women.

    if the answer is negative, then the author should shutup and make sure that he is not on the hit list of the Talibans. Imran Khan definitely has manged to get his name off the hit list of Talibans, before even being elected as a Prime Minister of Pakistan.

    And if I was him, I would not rely too much on Pakistan military brass which has never won a war in its history. Like IK said this evening to CNN woman, who by the way received the invitation to attend the next Pakistan election, the battle canno be won against the talibans militarily but winning their minds and hearts.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • goshed out

    @maliha rao: your assumption that the writer hasn’t himself been hit by a drone was probably the most solid piece of analysis on this page. How oh how did you manage to deduce this. Recommend

  • http://NA SOHAIL KHAN

    I, fully agree with the writer.If Imran khan comes to power his ultimate goal will be to bring these lunatics mullah to political main stream and that will be disastrous for pakistan,Recommend

  • ibs

    @Maliha Rao:
    you’re hilarious.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Dear Author, you are confusing things up…peace march was against drone attacks! Regarding your question of how to handle TTP, IK have mentioned this time and again that the way to get rid of TTP is through use of tribal people. Once we ensure that this is not some outsider war, tribal people will themselves kick/kill TTP out of their homes! I think the bigger debate is whether we as a nation believe that solution of removing TTP is by drone attacks or using our tribal people? So when IK says of peace talks it’s with tribal people and not TTP – and I believe these two are separateRecommend

  • umair

    The writter knows more about talibans then Imran khan.I think that sums up the whole argument!Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Fact: drone strikes can be inaccurate, do result in collateral damage, leave emotional scars on the populace. Fact: the eradication of questionable weapons of war (eg. landmines) is achieved by dialogue, lobbying for policy shifts and through demonstrating the inefficacy and unusually cruel effects of such weapons, on an international scale. IK is advised to shift gears, cease cheap, vote-attracting theatrics and engage in a significantly more intellectual engagement if he wants to be one of the the flag-bearers for the noble cause he posits to stand by. There are a number of commendable such organisations in the ‘West’ that are mouthpieces for the cause and undertake their task seriously and with goals, not glory in mind.

    IK’s stance that the TTP may be deemed worthy of providing him umbrella protection elevates them to quasi-government status. It is an intolerable concession that lays to waste the sacrifices and losses of thousands of men, women and children slaughtered by these criminals.

    Nothing confusing about this but the fact that we continue to bumble along feeling parts of the elephant in the dark. It’s about time we switch the lights on and agree to agree that we are all faced by the same beast. Recommend



    Imran Khan’s method of tackling militancy is to ‘leave it to the tribesmen’ and ‘withdraw our forces’, using the unstoppable military might of (wait for it), ‘hearts and minds’.

    IK better be the one with a scotch in hand because if he came up with that nonsense sober we’re all screwed. Recommend

  • Muiz

    A lot of ” I’s ” in your blog, probably that’s where the problem is. Kindly write when you’re SURE rather nagging over something you’re still THINKING over.Recommend

  • Shahid Yasin

    The writer is a little naive he doesn’t know the mentality of the Taliban. If something is happening on such big scale. You just can’t wipe them out. It is wishful thinking. Had it been possible our Pak army would have killed them all long ago and there would be peace.
    All we need to do is to weaken their ideological base and win over the people of tribal areas to your side and isolate the subversive elements. For that purpose, you need to make a political incursions into these areas and stand by people..Not engaging them means pushing them further away into the lapse of militants. Khan is doing the right thing His peace march has debunked many myths and perceptions about these areas. The writer is giving the impression that whoever lives in Waziristan is Taliban and the devil and deserves to be killed.Recommend

  • Waft

    Um yeah that makes sense. Bravo for such an intellectually nuanced argument. I guess thats the genius non-Punjabi in you. Recommend

  • Waft

    @Rex Minor:
    I didnt know that being a world class cricketer, getting married to a billionaire’s daughter, and being a bit of a playboy recommneds anyone for a seroius political position. And btw your thinly veiled wish/threat for a Taliban revenge on the author wasnt lost on anyone. Not very tolerant, are you? Maybe thats why IK and his supporters like them so much; future private army/mercenaries. Recommend

  • Mohmand khan

    Once a upon a time Pakistan and US were married at the expense of Russian and Afghanistan war,the couple was very happy and had a child called ( Mujahid). This so called mujahid was left alone and the couple did not care about his well being. the boy grown up and married to an Arab women, his wife give birth to two sons (Al-Qida and Taliban). The elder son nick name (OBL) was shot dead by his grand father ( USA) due to unfaithful to his family values while the second son is became violent too. The grand father wants to get rid of him as well but the granny (Pakistan) refuse to do so and trying to convince her husband that leave it alone. Grand dad trying to bring him down but the guy is still hiding in the mountains,Recommend

  • Stampede

    @Khalid: and thats why we being related to sikhs got us a Pakistan, drove Soviets out by actually doing something about it and gave u a place to reside in our country while you trash us and take offense by the mere existence of pakistan. Get it together afghanlovers and read a book!Recommend

  • Shahzad

    Will Mullah Radio construct girls schools and promote their education if drone strikes stop. Is the education of girls according to The Glorious Quran , the teachings of our beloved Prophet pbuh and the Constitution of Pakistan ? Can a nation be great if its women and girls are uneducated. That is the problem with the twisted ideology you want to make peace with, we the people of Pakistan didn’t declare war on them they have declared it on us. The Army chief declared on August 14, 2012 that this is not USA war it is Pakistan’s war against those with a twisted ideology and who also think of themselves the oracle of all knowledge.

    Now to fight this darkness preached by these people you to have consensus against this twisted ideology , that may I suggest is the issue.Recommend

  • ada

    hy imran khan nic prsnalityRecommend

  • yas

    …….”The Pakistani Taliban is our enemy, and he is an enemy we should fear for two reasons, the first being that he is a formidable enemy and the second being that it is only out of fear that Pakistani’s have ever stood united.”………..

    The writer himself giving legitimacy and importance to Taliban by calling them “a formidable enemy” but at the same time is blaming IK of doing the same thing?

    The biggest enemy of Pakistan is the war itself…thousands killed, billions lost with little to no gain and even stronger TTP. In warfare the best strategy is to cut off the supply chain of the enemy, otherwise the enemy keeps on fighting. This is what the allied did in the World War 2. The current supply change of the TTP is endless supply of volunteers who join them for 2 main reasons 1) Because they think they are fighting a jihad against a non-muslim power (i.e. the US and NATO), 2) They joined TTP because one or more of their family members were either killed or chronically injured as a result of either drone attacks or bombardment by our armed forces.
    This was never our war, we started this war under pressure from the US and for money. Where were these so called TTP before 2006? There was no mentioned of them before then? Did Imran Khan created the TTP? No, they were created as a result of irresponsible actions of our then president Musharraf and then by continuation of the same policies our current president Zardari.

    So STOP taking jabs at IK and blame the people who are the real cause of TTP…Recommend

  • yas

    “…we must clear North Waziristan once and for all, come what may, no matter the sacrifice. It will not be easy, and there will be heavy losses, yet if there was ever an army capable of such a task it is the Pakistan Army….”

    How easy it is for the writer sitting peacfully in California, enjoying the best of what life has to offer to make such a claim? When the fighting starts, it will not impact him at all, he will just watch a 60 second news clip on TV and then go back to his leasure like in California. He does not have slightist of ampthy for all the people who will be killed as a result of colletral damage? Recommend