Imran Khan hasn’t carried balls since he stopped playing cricket

Published: March 10, 2016

Imran Khan wants advice on women protection from a group (CII) that believes there should be no minimum age for a girl to be married. PHOTO: MOBEEN ANSARI/DAWN.COM

(Author’s note: Blog and blog title refer to cricket balls only. Puns not intended).

Here we go. Another day, another Imran Khan statement reflecting a worryingly right-wing mind-set.

This much is clear: Like the countless who voted for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) in the last General Elections, I shall not be voting for a political party that is full of so much hot air it should be floating around the world, that holds a country hostage through street politics, that is both outsmarted and manipulated, that consistently panders to the single biggest threat in the history of this country: the religious preachers.

There is a reason why they called him Taliban Khan.

Imran Khan believes the nickname was a conspiracy started by a TV channel that actually helped make him a political star by giving him more air time than CNN has given MH370. Of course, both are mysteries; Malaysia is missing an airplane while Khan Sahab is missing… well, never mind.

So, what’s the latest?

Well, Imran Khan informed women at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University that he refuses to introduce the domestic violence bill in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly unless it is approved by Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology (CII),

“The CII will review the draft and suggest whether it complies with the Holy Quran and Sunnah.”

Just to be clear, Imran Khan wants advice on women protection from a group that believes there should be no minimum age for a girl to be married. This same group previously ruled that girls as young as nine-years-old were ready. Later, it endorsed the ruling by saying a girl could be married at any age and was ready for rukhsati, “if the signs of puberty are visible”.

And we all know what happens after rukhsati.

Only recently, a 13-year-old died of internal injuries after having her rukhsati arranged by her family to a man twice her age, who clearly thought ‘signs of puberty are visible.’

The CII also doesn’t think a man needs written permission from his wife before he sets off for a second marriage.

The CII also says DNA evidence can’t function as primary proof in a rape case. Yes, obviously, rapists commit their heinous acts only when in front of four witnesses.

Just to reiterate, Imran Khan seeks advice from on a bill to protect women from abuse from this very council.

The Human Rights Watch in 2009 estimated that between 70 to 90 per cent of Pakistani women suffered some form of abuse. Meanwhile, the Aurat Foundation says that over a 1000 women are murdered in the name of honour every year in Pakistan. And according to Dawn, in Punjab alone, in 2013, 427 women were driven to suicide, 706 gang raped/raped, 1569 kidnapped and 774 murdered.

Undoubtedly, Pakistani women are being victimised at alarming levels.

Let’s also keep in mind that the CII is merely an advisory council. The power they carry hinders on the respect they are afforded. While the Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015 was passed by the Punjab Assembly, Imran Khan is still waiting for Uncle CII’s permission before giving women more legal defences in K-P.

CII tried to hit the Punjab Assembly with a bouncer by calling the bill “un-Islamic” but Nawaz Sharif hooked the ball out of the park, cracking it with a piece of willow we did not know he wielded. Meanwhile, Imran Khan has given his balls to the CII; just like he handed them over to Jamaat-e-Islami, when he stood by as they, his political allies, gave speech after speech in favour of murderer Mumtaz Qadri; just like he gave them to the Taliban as he gave statement after statement in their favour, even stooping so low as to appealing for a Taliban embassy hours after a church had been bombed, the hundreds of disfigured bodies still not cold, the tears of the families still running, their hearts still heavy;  just like he gave them to the fundamentalists when he paraded American citizen Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s picture around, creating a dangerous narrative in order to win votes; just like he gave them to the PTI government in K-P when they banned Malala Yousafzai’s book.

In all honesty, it is surprising Imran Khan has any balls left to give. Imran Khan has no balls.

This would explain why after appealing for talks with the Taliban, Imran Khan backed off when they requested his presence at the negotiating table.

No, Imran Khan has no balls. He would rather stay in the commentary box.

Meanwhile, regardless of whether he deserves full credit, under Nawaz Sharif’s government, Pakistan executed a killer hailed by thousands of extremists, passed a historic women protection bill, launched a military operation that finally curtailed the country’s terrorist problem (thank you Raheel Sharif) and even made sure we stopped using proxies to access YouTube.

But what if Imran Khan had become prime minister?

Would Pakistan have started Zarb-e-azb or would the government still be negotiating with the Taliban in order to find the ‘good Taliban’? How many more innocent lives would have been lost during the extended period of indecision?

How many embassies would Taliban have in Pakistan today?

Would Pakistan have punished Mumtaz Qadri for taking the law into his own hands?

Given Imran Khan’s kachay kaan, how disastrous would his international policies have been?

Would he have come home beaming after a meeting with India, having proudly negotiated control of Kashmir in exchange for the rest of Pakistan?

Would any province in Pakistan have passed a bill to protect women?

I shudder to think what Naya Pakistan would have looked like.

Do you think Imran Khan should consult with the CII before passing the domestic violence bill in K-P?

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Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (

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

  • ovais

    its so cool to criticize imran but try to see the whole picture for onceRecommend

  • ovais

    Noman , it was your beloved liberal PPP who appointed sheerani a political rep of JUIF on CII. So before this blog you should have written on the balls of PPP and their liberal mindset. A political maulvi will do politics on it . Imran played it sensibily threw the ball in their court now they have to give proofs that the laws are anti islamic which might be difficult . else he would have passed your beloved PPP appointee would have raised issues and made the law look anti islamic so he can get votes. Time to think about the realities and blame the real culprits the champions of women rights PPP for appointing sheerani in the first place thanksRecommend

  • Anwaar

    This is really disturbing ….Recommend

  • Alam

    what do you mean by balls (should anyone be allowed to use such a derogatory language by just putting a short note?)
    Those who believe in democracy should respect democracy. People voted for IK and he has the right to amend change or reject any act in elected assembly. A minute elite with strange life philosophies inspired by the west must shut their mouth up till the next election. Come and vote for the one you want to amend and tabled bills for you.
    Thank you!!!Recommend

  • Parvez

    You say pun not intended…….who you kidding ?
    Poor Imran Khan has shot himself so many times in the foot, in the head, that it’s not funny any more. A very intelligent Indian lady who was a regular on this site had cautioned me to be careful on supporting Imran Khan……..she was very correct. The man simply lacks a basic sense of right and wrong.Recommend

  • Guest

    Dear Blogger, Stop wasting your energies :)Recommend

  • Malik

    what you fail to understand, is that currently the women’s protection bill that is being considered is a provincial matter. The populace of KPK is far more conservative and backward as compared to Punjab. The bill that would be issued will be along the lines that are acceptable for the Pushtun culture. Sindh and Punjab are considered far more liberal in their mindset as opposed to KPK.Recommend

  • Pawail A. Qaisar

    And what’s the ‘whole picture’? Do you think the CII is right to call the women’s rights bill un-Islamic?!??! Do you think their rulings are not insane?!?Recommend

  • Muhammad Asfand Yar

    Imran Khan is absolutely right on this issue. Just like he was right in Musharraf’s Government, when he again and again said “on air” that we should not start a fight with taliban. They are not our enemies and we can not afford to make a new enemy. He said again and again that we should not participate in this war of US. If the people in power at that time had not made taliban our enemy, we could have saved billions of rupees and thousands of soldiers that were lost in a war that was not supposed to be our problem. If negotiations had taken place at the right time, things would have been very much different. He was also right when he stood against the drone attacks. How can we allow any other country to come in our territory and attack anyone. There were so many innocent Pakistanis including women and children that were killed in those attacks. Apart from the killing of innocent Pakistani citizens, we also got ourselves new enemies who were (initially) not against us.

    “I was against this war from 2001 onwards,” Mr Khan told The Independent, in an interview last week at his hilltop hacienda just outside Islamabad. “In 2004, in my speech to parliament I warned General Musharraf not to send the Pakistan army into Waziristan, because of the history of these tribal people.”

    Then comes the issue of Malala Yousufzai’s book, why do we give her so much importance? What has she done? Except surviving an attack, which was in no which way meant to kill her, and running outside. APS students were also attacked. Why did they never get any privileges as Malala? Malala is no hero and we should accept this fact before she brings the ideology of west and implement it here.

    On the issue of Mumtaz Qadri, he on air called him an assassin and said what he did was very wrong. In fact he also said that if his party comes in power, he will make sure that no militant group operates in Pakistan. And that applies on all militant groups, without any exception. What more is he supposed to do?

    Now to the main issue. I personally may not support CII on their stands on a lot of things some of which are also mentioned above in the blog, but I also think that when there is such a council working in Pakistan, so there is nothing wrong in asking them to review the draft and suggest whether it complies with the Holy Quran and Sunnah. After all we live in an Islamic state. If there is so much of a problem with CII, why not dissolve this council? But if it can not be dissolved, and is active so anyone can always take suggestions from the Council. Plus, its “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” so I believe that the draft of any bill that is introduced in any assembly must be reviewed in terms of its compliance with Holy Quran and Sunnah. Either by CII or any other non-controversial body/council.Recommend

  • Sajid Rauf

    I am surprised to see your effort to convince us that all your no balls are legal balls., Be realistic, try to read the purpose of Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), You can’t pass any bill until CII recommendations. Without their advice it will be unconstitutional, If you have any problem with CII, You have to consult with them, You can’t blame IK over CII.Recommend

  • knightridrr

    True, I am worried about some of IK’s statements in the past but I also know that media always twists his words to sell news.

    Please do not give credit of Zarb-e-Azb to this government. We all know Army informed Government that they are going through with it whether they officially announce it or not.

    Women Protection Bill is certainly a step in the right direction but seeing that none of the PML-N MPAs knew the terms of the bill makes me wonder how much of the votes in favor were intentional. Also implementation of the bill will be the real test.

    So far PML-N haven’t been able to rectify any of the real problems (even partially). Load-shedding of electricity and gas (in winter) is still there. Pakistani’s rupee is still very weak (even weaker than when PML-N government took the office). They are still taking loans and slapping hidden taxes e.g. petrol prices far higher compared to International market. Now they are expected to go back up, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them back at 100 rupees/litre. Instead, we are getting metro this metro that; metro mania all around and only people like you actually think that they are sign of progress when so much tax payer money is being wasted.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    If the “whole picture” doesn’t include the rights and safety of Pakistani women, I don’t want to see it. And neither should the author.Recommend

  • Yousuf Ali

    Which is?Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    Then please tell us the WHOLE PICTURE you refer to!
    The article speaks for itself about his pandering to the religious right and the TTP!
    BTW, note that IK has never used the words “terrorists” and “TTP” in the same sentence!Recommend

  • Parvez

    In my first comment I firmly, strongly agreed with you…..and loudly said so…..and got shot down.

    The result of the snap poll at the end says much.Recommend

  • Pak_Patriot

    Not sure whether the one-sided arguments are more lame or the dramatic declaration that the author won’t vote for the PTI in the next elections.

    Yes, please don’t vote for the party that has focused on improving education, health, reforming the police in their province and fixing the patwari system. Instead, vote for the party that has been in power on and off for 30 odd years and whose biggest achievements are building roads, metros, saying yes to a war against the terrorists which was pushed by the military and passing a bill. Those truly are huge achievements for the short time they’ve been on power.

    Having a heavy mandate and not having to answer to anybody does make it easier to pass a bill than having a coalition govt where your allies don’t see eye to eye. But of course, it must be a lack of balls and not political limitations that are preventing Imran Khan from outright passing the bill in KP. Who said it’s a democracy where you have to listen to everyone even if you don’t agree with their views. That their are people who view Qadri as a martyr because of the same version of radical Islam that Zia brought in to the country while Nawaz Sharif looked on in admiration is of no consequence because Imran Khan should have the balls to undo this radicalisation by himself. Why would he even bother with trying to engage others in debate when it’s much easier to simply dismiss them which obviously solves everything.

    And yes, using street power was so unwarranted when the countless people who voted for the PTI were wondering where their votes went. I mean, does it even matter how the leaders come into power as long as we get the election results on TV? They must be right.

    Imran Khan is expected to change the thinking of people in the most conservative province in his first term by showing balls while Nawaz Sharif can take 30 years to finally pass a women protection bill. Bravo.

    If you want to find things to criticize, you can. Having tinted glasses makes you see only one side and doesn’t lend much credibility to what you write. The statements about negotiating with the Taliban before resorting to war were passed by PMLN too. That there are factions in the Taliban who cannot be negotiated with is as certain as the fact that this war cannot be won without engaging those willing to negotiate and lay down their arms. World wars have ended with negotiations where people who’ve killed thousands of each other’s countrymen sit down at the table. But it’s just naive of Imran to think that negotiating with anyone with the name “taliban” is even possible. Just kill them all because that’s easier and more likely to bring long lasting peace.Recommend

  • ovais

    ET thanks for cutting my comment .. kudos on that . it was PPP (Liberals ) who appointed Sheerani in the first place. next time try to give them a share of the blame. imran has just left the ball in sheerani court so that he doesnt do politics on it . simple and effective and ET this is awefullRecommend

  • Honest Opinion

    You are most welcome, i mean not to vote for IK. Nobody needs your vote or advice. Thank You!Recommend

  • Saira Z.

    This has to be the most biased piece I have read in days. The author has vented his bile in a rather disturbing way. It was highly unjustified to build a whole narrative/blog on a single statement coming from Khan. I, or any sensible person for that matter, wouldn’t grill Imran Khan on this statement. Pure exaggeration!Recommend

  • Asim Ali

    The writer made an haphazard criticism on Imran as usual . Women protection bill is basically about domestic problems which should not be taken into police stations. Punjab protection bill was criticised mainly because of this further complicated matter that is the reason he wants to present ot to religious scholars . CII is a federal advisory body you may disagree with them but that is a proper way to proceed. On Salman Taseer Issue Imran is the only one who supported in public and also wrote an article on this issue.On Zarb i Azm he supported it from the first day He cancelled his punlic meetings after its inception, even on one occasion he praised Nawaz Sharif for Zarb i Azm and Karachi operation. Dialogue was necessary to demonize TTP for general public. I accept he made some mistakes on taliban issue. As for as your honour killing ,rape and other heinous crimes stats those are irrelevant to this issue,these issues don’t fall in the ambit of this act.
    In the end Imran Khan is the only honest leader who want yo serve people whether he is government or not .He doesn’t want to hoard wealth for his generations to come. He might not be perfect but he is the best we have.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    You assume I love the PPP more than PTI. No. I was in Karachi for five years during PPP’s rule.Recommend

  • Anwaar

    not true..CII is an advisory committee … KP has passed many bills without CII advise or consent .. .so has National Assembly on countless occasions .. however its true that administrative related bills are not forwarded to CII (neither r they interested in them)

    Time is ripe to pass social issues related bills also without consulting CII …Recommend

  • ovais

    it was the liberal PPP who appointed sheerani in the first place . lets put the blame on ppp for appointing a political person as head of CII . Sheerani is doing politics . imrna has rolled the ball in his court if he gives a response he is going to bust him . if he genuinely raises issues they will be incorporated . and ET for once have guts to publish my complete comments . dont cut this one as wellRecommend

  • ovais

    and yet still you failed to blame the mess of CII on them kudos on you my friendRecommend

  • ovais

    the problem is not CII as islamic republic all laws should comply with islam. the problem is the political mullah at the head of CII and thats a huge thanks to PPPP . so please write about their balls .imran played sensibly .Recommend

  • ovais

    he is the only one who will take them heads one just wait and watch !!Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Take on the CII?Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    It is a cricket analogy. He loves cricket analogies.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Where did Nandita go by the way?Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    Your title says it all , despite your (mis)clarification.
    Where do you think you are writing this piece.
    This is not a classroom for your dirty jokes and double meaning sentences.
    This is a serious topic.
    As for women’s rights you prove again that bold and brave decisions can only be taken by men as they ….. you get the idea,
    By the way , the laws which are heavily lobbied by Western powers that be victimize men.
    I would encourage you to consider both sides of the coin before writing your opinionated blogs.Recommend

  • ovais

    yes he will take a jab at sheerani just wait and watch . .sheerani is a political maulviRecommend

  • ovais

    took you an indian aunty to tell you imran lacks the skills .. what about your own thinking .. do vote for zardari altaf or nawaz KudosRecommend

  • Milind A

    To his credit, Imran Khan has been not so anti-India or anti-modernity, which is customary of the right-wing in Pakistan… Personally he appears to be religious, without being fanatic… His cosying up with right-wing or refusing to condemn Ahmadi massacre or blame the Talibans seems to be just an act of political expediency…which again is not appreciated.. But from experience of our politicians, I can say its easier to outgrow political expediency than ideology.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Probably Afridi threatened to bite into themRecommend

  • Sheraz Khalid

    These Pakistani liberals are biggest hypocrites in the entire universe.Recommend

  • Bibloo

    She did not go anywhere. Maybe he is talking about gp65.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Have no idea…….I enjoyed her straight talking style.Recommend

  • Parvez

    My friend, if I did not have my own thinking……I would never have made a remark like that.Recommend

  • Akhwandk

    Once PTI was great but a few too many wrong steps spell PTI ka end at least in Karachi. Which is very sad considering we once had such high hopes but PTI has become a run of the mill Pakistani political party. I have only ever voted PTI in Karachi but now I must seriously consider who should I vote in the next election.Recommend

  • salman

    “CII tried to hit the Punjab Assembly with a bouncer by calling the bill “un-Islamic” but Nawaz Sharif hooked the ball out of the park, cracking it with a piece of willow we did not know he wielded. ”

    Noman, Looks like that 6 you thought Nawaz hit, might only be a double…

  • salman
  • gp65

    It takes a lot of courage to publicly change your opinion because I remember you used to be a PTI fan. You have what Imran does not – cricket balls I mean.
    May your tribe increase – from an Indian who appreciates your directness and courage.Recommend

  • gp65

    Who might that be?Recommend

  • gp65

    Sorry – what is the whole picture? That it is okay to abuse women? That when abused women should have no rights?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Of all people, do I have to name names , for you …… :-)Recommend

  • Amin Ansari

    The author is ignorant of the fact it was not IK’s decision to have CII vet the bill. It is drafted by women reps of KP Provincial Assembly and it is their decision to do so. It is typical of the outsize phobia that people carry of IK due to hero syndrome virus they are afflicted with. I am a PTI supporter and will continue to be as long as steps are taken to make the party inclusive of all opinions. They must be for devolution of power. As they are doing all of that.

    Compare that to the mess the Punjab Assembly finds itself in having not done their home work.

    Noman you have disappointed me with your blog and your analytical abilities.Recommend

  • salman

    Fazlur Rehman claimed Premier Nawaz Sharif was himself upset with the passage of the bill as it was done without his prior approval. “I was surprised the premier did not know about it, but I am happy that he wants to resolve the issue now,” he said

    Looks like Nawaz wasn’t even batting.Recommend

  • ovais

    see my other commentRecommend

  • Malik Zahid Furqan

    Hey Btw You certainly have none since you are reluctant to own what you actually said.Your language & tone is nude and analogies are obscene.What you compared ? cricket ball with his (testicular) balls.Such a vulgar rebuke is not welcomed. IK is not perfect, is at times soft & inclined towards right wing while NS is leaning towards left right now.Its Politics, Is that a basis for questioning one’s possession of his balls or in a way ask for proof of their presence.Recommend

  • Pashtun

    That was quite a derogatory comment you made. And you think your civilized. You do know that the incidents of acid attacks honor killings rape burying women alive happen mostly in Punjab and Sindh but almost never in KPK and Pashtun belt of BalochistnRecommend

  • Ali S

    IK is not expected to change the thinking of people in the most conservative province in his first term, but he’s expected to lay down his own line of thinking clearly when it comes to the menace of religious extremism so his voters can decide whether they’re on board with his views or not. Repeatedly pandering to the most regressive elements of our religious and political establishments shows where his views stand, and I (as a PTI voter in 2013) have decided that I will not be voting for him again.

    Yes, Nawaz has a third term head start over him, but during Nawaz’s previous two terms Pakistan wasn’t at a do-or-die junction as it is now, so yes, while Nawaz has learned rather late, at least he’s now making sensible decisions while IK’s disastrous decisions right now are critical.Recommend

  • Usama Naveed

    the author has been clouded by his assumption that he has any interpretation skills of Imran Khan’s views of females from his one statement. the author has included his every demeaning comment his petty mind can think of and efficiently hid it behind a question. Although the question has a majority of NO answers doesn’t means that any of your opinions has any true background. The articles reiterates the fact that the author is devoid of ground realities. Pakistan needs alot of time before its patriarchal men can start to accept female rights. come out of your utopia that female rights can be achieved overnight. KPK is the most educationally backward area with the most regressive policies and with their mindset it wouldn’t have taken them a second to reject Imran Khan in the election had he challenged their beliefs so deeply engraved in them. The problem is that you don’t even know that half the women in the country also are support patriarchal values. Until education is made every citizens right which only Imran Khan is working towards, we will have to take one step at a time. If you believe that imran khan regressive attitude towards women, you have no command over political knowledge to write such long biased articles.Recommend

  • Ibraheem

    If every1 is going to reject CII recommendations than why there is any need of such institution. We islamic state according to constitution so every law must be in accordance with Islamic ideology. I think it is unfair and biased of the writerRecommend

  • OSD

    Hahaha.. Pun intended or not, the author has certainly hit this PTI skulduggery out of the park for a six. Thank you sir, it was absolutely spot on. Now be prepared for the trolls.Recommend

  • OSD

    It was hardly based on a single statement. The author cited IK’s refusal to back a bill for protection of women’s rights, his persistent support for reconciliation with the murderous TTP, his deep alliance with the Jamaat-e-Islami and his militant politics based on highly questionable allegations.

    IK seems to be regularly getting a pass for his foot-in-mouth single statements; whether they were for refusing to back women’s rights in the face of extremists or his lack of personal transparency. Some of his supporters even sprang to his support when he bent towards the extremist’s agenda of isolating Pakistan and criticized the PSL event as madness.

    One has to take an independent view, even if they like the politician in a personal manner.Recommend