Is Imran Khan’s visit to the UK worthy of criticism?

Published: July 16, 2013

There is a lot more to criticise Imran Khan on, but, not his trip to the UK. PHOTO: AFP

I find it ridiculous that some media anchors and members of the civil society have the nerve to criticise Imran Khan’s visit to the UK, especially to the royal gathering hosted by Prince Charles. 

It is believed that the scheduled ‘All Parties Conference’ (APC) has been postponed due to Khan’s absence. However, this is nothing but a baseless allegation. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had made it clear much before Khan’s departure, that Khan will be travelling to the UK for his medical treatment and to meet his children.

Moreover, if an APC was to even be carried out while Khan was away, PTI had nominated Shah Mehmood Qureshi to represent the party, if need be. This was done as a genuine gesture of good will; an attempt to show that PTI is supportive of the positive efforts made by the government. With that said, it is important to understand the rhetoric of the APC. These kinds of meetings are held whenever there is a conflict about a certain issue. But, as we have witnessed in the last two APCs – one headed by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the other by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), all parties have agreed that political dialogue is the only solution for tackling terrorism.

Now, what other solution could this ‘new’ APC bring about?

Additionally, what caused this mayhem around Khan’s absence is pure jealousy. Imagine – Imran Khan in a dashing tuxedo, looking as handsome as ever. Of course, this made some people insecure and question his motives. Anchors were alleging that Khan is perfectly well as seen by the way he is ‘chit-chatting with Prince Charles’ and so, going to the UK was nothing but a sham.

Well-connected: Prince Charles asked Imran Khan how he was getting on after his fall in Pakistan

To those who believe that – please grow up!

Imran Khan is perhaps the only Pakistani who is accorded such level of honour and respect in international circles. And we as a nation must be proud of this rather than hateful towards it. At least, there is someone from the Pakistani political circle who is internationally recognised and respected!

There is a lot more to criticise Imran Khan on, but not this. Yes, we can question his slogan of ‘change’ that he promised and we can ask about the improvement in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Apparently, the frequency of terrorist attacks has increased and I have heard that the K-P government has passed an ordinance whereby anyone found eating or drinking during Ramazan can be fined up to Rs50, 000. Where is Imran Khan now?

Is this the ‘Naya Pakistan’ Khan has been talking about?

The person who has been trusted with the ticket for by-election from NA-1 has a number of allegations upon him, including the fact that he is an Afghan national. This would be a grievous mistake if an unpopular person is awarded a ticket, and this can lead to the defeat of PTI in its stronghold. Furthermore, a serious issue of double standards has surfaced; PTI has announced protests against load shedding in K-P. Imran Khan used to criticise and mock Shahbaz Sharif, calling him names such as, ‘Show-Baz Sharif’, when the latter put up a tent at Minar-e-Pakistan to protest against the unfair load shedding in Punjab. 

Khan was of the view that as provinces can produce their own electricity and that this kind of a protest is just a show piece. Now, what pretext can he offer for his own provincial government doing the same ‘show baazi’?

The crux of what I mean to say is that we must think carefully before blaming anyone. When judging Khan, we must see him through the paradigm of politics, and not through the lens of our own bias.

Is it valid to criticise Imran Khan's personal trip to the UK?

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Read more by Osama here


Osama Sajid

An undergraduate student at LUMS who is pursuing Economics, he is interested in reading and researching Pakistan's cultural and political issues.

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

  • zahira Sheikh

    It is shame he did not win the election. How many other corrupt Pakistanis leaders can match
    Imran Khans honesty, Recommend

  • zahira Sheikh

    It is shame he did not win the election in Pakistan. How many Pakistanis corrupt leaders
    can match Imran Khans honesty he is the only person who had honour to be in the company of Prince Charles. Other leaders always came with begging bowl.Recommend

  • Rehan khan

    Now to your ‘allegations’ first of all after the 18th amendment, provinces can produce their own electricity. Which is why pti govt in KP has signed an mou with a foreign company to generate power. The protest is against the unfair share as KP is the only province which is producing highest amount of electricity yet have to face 18 to 20 hours loadshedding. Showbaz took no measures to ‘produce’ electricity! So a. Get your facts right! Secondary before criticising the ordinances, one souls remember that pti govt in KP is a coalition govt, with JI and Sherpao! It’s pti-led KP govt but not entirely KP govt!
    As to your na-1 ticket, kindly don’t spread what you have heard! The guy is famous amongst people in his constituency, so who are we to object to it? Don’t blog for the sake of blogging! Recommend

  • Mrs. Chishti

    For your info: the protest in Peshawar is not about production of electricity, PTI is already taking initiatives for that, the protest is on UNFAIR distribution of the energy by the center, KP is NOT being given its allotted quota of electricity. If you know about KP’s production of energy you would know that KP produces much more then it’s own demands, yet the center is not even giving KP it’s already allotted quota, so this is a whole different type of protest. Don’t compare it with Punjab, they took NO initiative to create power. With KP it already produces surplus, yet it’s quota being stolen by center & diverted elsewhere. If this keeps on, wouldn’t matter how much KP produced, the center will simply steal it & divert it elsewhere, if you object to protest on this unfairness & call it show bazi, you will be the ignorant one, not the protesters of KP.Recommend

  • ezanius

    Well said Zahira. The problem is, the leaders of Punjab don’t let people open up their eyes and by keeping them in darkness, they could prove themselves honest and loyal. The poor citizens are given the doses of honour like opium during the elections and after that they are abandoned. Recommend

  • Sonz

    Completely agree with the author! I think we as a nation have nothing better to do than to criticise just for the sake of it. Next we’ll have a problem with the way IK is breathing!

    Atleast he is presentable enough to represent Pakistan at a Royal function unlike some of our other political leaders who make us wince in shame everytime they open their mouths!
    Questioning or challenging him on his policies in KPK is completely fair and he should be answerable for delivering on his promises. But please lets keep our eye on the big picture and not concentrate on every detail of his personal lifeRecommend

  • Parvez

    Imran Khan and the PTI have a long way to go and much to learn.

  • Ali Tipu

    Khan was born in a wrong nation. A person who has been fighting for his thankless country ever since he was 17 years old, in one way or the other, be it sports, philanthropic work or politics is ridiculed and declared the cause of evil and all problems by a bunch of bought up anchors. Some just envy him because of the respect he receives. What do you think can Prince Charles really invite anyone of Nawaz, Zardari or Bhai and be impressed by their demeanor like he was when meeting with khan in the pic? Recommend

  • aaaaa

    @zahira Sheikh:

    Look at KP’s budget. Begging bowl (at least as IK defined it) is alive and well in the PTI government as well.

    IK is free to go to the UK whenever he wishes, no problems there. But I find it strange that Shireen Mazari said his UK trip was essential as he is in a lot of pain and the trip can’t be delayed anymore. and two days later, IK informs the world that I am feeling much better and don’t even need my spinal brace anymore.

    Nominating SMQ, however, is a problem. It was IK who was calling for the APC to be held for months now, he is the head of his party, it should be him that should represent PTI to solve one of the most difficult problems being faced by this country right now. Symbolism matters. Otherwise he should just send Khattak, who is after all, the CM. As opposed to IK, or SMQ, or Hashmi, none of whom hold any position in the provincial set up of KP.Recommend

  • Osama Sajid

    @Rehan khan:
    I am not against Khattak’s protesting, rather em against Khan’s double standards. Why did he mock Shahbaz Sharif in the first place? Secondly, Gul Bacha Khan do not have supprt of 14 out of 24 union councils in NA-1. If PTI leadership is able to convince them till elections, it will be fine. Coalition government does not mean that he starts compromising on basic issues. How can governemnt infringe upon the individual rights on eating and drinking?Recommend

  • Osama Sajid

    @Mrs. Chishti:
    Shahbaz Sharif’s protest was also on the unfair distribution of electricity. Punjab never got its lawful share.Recommend

  • Not Kabullay

    Gul Bacha is a KaabulaayRecommend

  • Zarak Babar

    Dear Mr author your statement ”Imran Khan is perhaps the only Pakistani who is accorded such level of honour and respect in international circles. And we as a nation must be proud of this rather than hateful towards it. At least, there is someone from the Pakistani political circle who is internationally recognised and respected” …. i w Nawaz Sharief has very good terms with the Saudi royal family and Zardari with UAE’s Royal family and these two families are worlds most respected families, so IK is not the only one who is friends in hight places.IK should first full fill his duties then he can go party and what ever he likes and another point is that the way IK was always criticizing every other politician, now he should stand up to what he says.(i don’t support any party in Pakistan, so my comments are not politically motivated but one should state the facts as they are)
    Pakistan Zindabad Recommend

  • Osama Sajid

    Please get your facts correct! Khan never demanded an APC, rather he was against any such meeting. He wanted a closed room discussion of 4-5 people including him, PM, Nisar, Khattak, Abdul Malick Baloch, Qaim Ali Shah and Shahbaz. Recommend

  • sajid

    @Osama Sajid:
    As is made cleared to you by Mrs chisty, A protest is only drama bazi when you do it under your own rule,after being in government for many years.
    KPK govt has all the right when its produces more than double of its needs,still experiences 18 hours of load shedding.Recommend

  • Shahrukh

    KPK is already a surplus by big margin province and even if KPK starts producing thousands mw it will have to go to national grid and federal govt will have to then distribute according to their liking! The protest is for not even getting the allocated quota of electricity! Plus IK is the greatest leader of current era of Pakistan, mention one name that can stand prallel to him nationally & internationally Recommend

  • sajid

    @Osama Sajid:
    i have already replied to the double standard part of your accusation in my earlier reply to you.
    Asa political party PTI has all the right to decide which candidate it thinks suits the best for a particular Constituency.IF many a bigwigs can be denied party tickets on the basis of merit,so could have been Gul bacha,had he been found deficient.As for some disagreeing voices against him within the party thats perfect democracy in the party.Pervez khatak has no say in awarding NA-01 ticket.As a coalition Government PTI has to take ministers from other parties along,don’t expect PTI to endanger its government for a minor issue like fine on eating offence in public.
    1) i have not heard of any such ordinance in the first place
    2)Their might be exception for elderly and those are ill in case the ordinance is in place
    3)Public eating places in KPK close in day time in KPK any ways.
    4)Eating Places near hospital never close down just to cater to the needs of Patients.
    5)its totally unislamic if anybody eats in public place during ramazan read hadith on this issue.
    6) whats wrong in an ordinance if it is imposed to discourage offenders any ways.
    7)The only criticism that can be done is it might get abused by some ignorant law enforcer or an officer who has an underbelly to cater for. Recommend

  • Khurram Awan

    @Shahrukh: First of all Imran Is not the greatest leader and only naive people say it like that. Secondly KPK government never contribute anything in Building of Dams and the Infrastructure upon which you are bloating right now is all made by the money of the Federal Government and the Federal Government revenue is generated mainly by Sindh and Punjab. So before saying we produce this electricity you should remind yourself that from where the money is coming for these projects in KPK.
    It is my request to PMLN not to contribute a Penny in Bhasha dam or any dam from now on as Whole Pakistan will contribute but in the end KPK will took hold of everything. If Kalabagh dam is being protested upon by KPK and Sindh then no dam in KPK should be built as well and People of Punjab should go for renewables only rather then contributing to the blackmailing. Recommend

  • Aiman Kay

    As far as I remember Imran Khan said he wouldn’t go outside for medical treatment. Fair enough, he went for medical checkup but why he had to go to this party. He could have excused with a valid reason. As far as APC is concerned if writer believes that sitting together is not going to bring any change then what else does he suggest. Recommend

  • Peace Seeker

    His closeness to British Royalty, his ex-English wife, his influential ex-father-in-law, all cause undue (?) suspicion about his secretly following some foreign agenda.?Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    Imran is popular in cricket playing nations, rest of the world does not know him (remember Canadian Airport incident?). In cricket playing countries too, he is popular because of his playing abilities not of his statesmanship or philosophy. No doubt he is in a position to collect some donations for himself and his charity work but absolutely in position to change policies of their hosts or do anything positive for this poor nation. Many world celebrities are invited and even paid huge sums to attend functions but it does not mean they are asked to provide advice. You should have kept this point before wasting time to write this article.Recommend

  • Fawad Rehman

    Not Recognizing Malala at UN by PTI shows who is insecure and Jealous. According to blogger and official statement of PTI, Imran went to UK for medical checkups and to meet his 2 sons but instead of supporting jacket he was Wearing dashing tuxedo. Sounds fishy but true. Recommend

  • aaaaa

    @Osama Sajid:

    OK I WILL GET MY FACTS STRAIGHT!!!! He wanted an APC, then flip flopped like he always does.

    “Imran Khan has been urging the Nawaz Sharif government to quickly convene the CONFERENCE, inviting all stakeholders, to formulate the security policy. He also wanted Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvaz Kayani to attend the meeting.

    On Monday, HOWEVER, the PTI chief told a TV channel that he would have preferred a much smaller summit of chief ministers, the prime minister and the army brass to speak the truth.”

    “4-5 people including him, PM, Nisar, Khattak, Abdul Malick Baloch, Qaim Ali Shah and Shahbaz.”

    4 of those people are CMs. 1 is the interior minister, and the last is the Prime Minister. Imran Khan kon hay? He’s nobody in this context. Why should anybody invite him to this pointless ‘closed room discussion.’

    In any case what a hypocrite your IK is. He wants to tell everybody the truth but would prefer a secretive summit rather than a APC in parliament in front of everybody. and heres another fact for you: IK is not in any position to dictate what he wants.Recommend

  • Just Truth

    Look at the smug satisfaction he exudes being fed on the support of British Royalty, diet, and comfort.Recommend

  • Well Wisher

    One wonders if the British Royalty invited Imran to check if his sympathies are with Diana who was close to Jemima.Recommend

  • iqbal ahmad

    Good to see that Imran Khan no longer thinks that wearing western clothes shows an inferiority complex.Recommend

  • Rehan khan

    @Khurram Awan:
    World recognises IK as a leader! He was for your kind information on no.3 amongst the top leaders in the world! Recommend

  • Muneeb Naseem

    @Mrs. Chishti
    Get your facts correct please, the electricity produced in KPK is by hydel projects run by WAPDA or federal govt. itself so logically KPK has no right to claim that “it” produces electricity. Imran Khan used to criticise Shahbaz Sharif for protests and now his own CM is protesting, and who said that previous punjab govt. did not take steps, yes they went out for projects like Nandi pur which were not permitted by PPP govt..
    Imran Khan criticised Shahbaz Sharif because he was of the view that despite of protesting Punjab should end loadshedding in their provinve themselves, why don’t they do the same in KP. Regarding the distribution, Punjab was not given its rightful share as well that is why it suffered the most in terms of industrial breakdown. Recommend

  • Shoaib

    IK used to criticise SS as he was protesting after being in power for more than 4 yrs.Meanwhile KPK gov with in weeks has started working on hydro project.Recommend

  • Khadim Karrar

    @Well Wisher:
    Since the British Royalty is suspected in the assassination of Diana and since Jemima had very close relations with Diana might be the British Royalty is try to smooth over the ruffles caused by the suspicions of their involvement in the sordid act?Recommend

  • http://[email protected] Diyathi Pakistani

    I love Imran. He is best baller and best leadership of the Pakistani quoom. He is farst leader who is rub shoulders with the charlas and caamla. Hes farst leader to wear the tooksedo. He is looking like very dashing and daring with charalas. I think pakistani peoples very jealous of the Imrans popularity. He is international sex symbols. known to many. he is more famous then the bollywood stars. He is farst leadero build a haspataaal for free cancer care. no leader ake the cancer haspataaal.He is good honet and sincere parson I would say. Recommend

  • http://[email protected] Diyathi Pakistani

    he is best ballar of the pakistan uoomRecommend

  • http://[email protected] Diyathi Pakistani

    goo goo
    goo gooRecommend

  • Gull Hassan

    Khan called Shehbaz sharif as showbaz shareef when shehbaz had been ruling Punjab as CM Punjab from last 5 years Approz
    and 2.5 yrs of them were of after 18th amendment where provinces can produce thier own electricity
    where as PTI is ruling from last 40-45 days and no electricity can be produced in this time spam
    what they r asking for is their right
    there is unequal distribution in provinces since this government have started its rule.
    KPK can ask for electricity untill they produce their own
    As far as it is concerned about the rest of ur Blog
    I think u have written the right thingRecommend

  • Badar Shehzad

    @Shoaib: hydro project is also cux of NS and SS who smoothed things over with china, btw IK was going to turn the CM house into a library 24 hours after he came to power, where can I get the library card to that Recommend

  • hamid siddiqui

    Imran Khan, was a free Pakistani and is still the same free Pakistani, he was a frequent traveler before and is still travelling and will remain travelling if required, Imran Khan or any one else has never promised that he will give up his total personal life after getting into politics. Let’s see what is he doing for the country and respect his good deeds, instead of trying to mind his personal life and criticize. Be positive.Recommend