Yes we Khan, but should we?

Published: November 17, 2011

Imran Khan’s is not the politics of change. It is politics as usual.

Pakistan is not immune to the insurrectionary air of the Arab Spring or the international “Occupy” movements. There is a genuine appetite for change, and Imran Khan is adeptly channelling it. Buoyed by these sentiments, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf jalsa (rally) in Lahore on October 30 was undoubtedly a huge success. Imran Khan is the harbinger of the Pakistani Spring. Change is coming. Yes we Khan. 

Clinging to this simplistic hope, throngs of urban, middle-class, and typically election shunning Pakistani youth have gravitated towards the PTI. Politicization of this section of society is, of course, a welcome development. The highly conservative, Islamist or ultra-nationalistic/xenophobic social and political outlooks of many such youth make the PTI their natural home.

But other progressive minded young – and sometimes older – people have also been taken in by Imran Khan’s political googlies. Informed more by his cult of personality than his politics, they genuinely believe that Imran Khan represents a moderate progressive or even a leftist political movement – a movement for radical change.

This article highlights the inconsistency between the PTI’s progressive rhetoric and political action.

Enlightened Islam?

Imran Khan claims to lead a progressive movement, and now talks of “enlightened Islam” – a rehash of General Musharraf’s “enlightened moderation” claptrap. His actions have been far from it, and even further from any kind of progressive politics.

Elected to Parliament in 2002 as the PTI’s lone legislator, Imran Khan found himself ideologically and politically close to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a coalition of hard-line and far-right Islamist political parties. He supported the MMA leader, Maulana Fazalur Rahman’s failed bid to become Prime Minister. Imran Khan also backed the MMA in being a vocal critic of madrassah reforms, and of women who participated in mixed-sex road races. He remained close to the MMA even after it voted in favour of the Legal Framework Order and the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan.

In line with the MMA, Khan also opposed the Womens’ Protection Bill in 2006. To his credit, Imran Khan explained that he thought the real problem was the underlying Hudood Ordinance. However, Khan did not introduce any amendments to the Bill, sponsor any separate legislation, or even propose a Parliamentary resolution to deal with the Hudood Ordinance. He has said little about it before or since.

Imran Khan’s closeness to the mullahs resulted in the flight of a number of progressives that had joined the party in the early days, including its first Secretary General, renowned environmental lawyer Dr Pervez Hassan, and the veteran leftist Meraj Muhammad Khan, who served as Secretary General between 1998 and 2003.

The void left in the PTI leadership by the departing progressives has been filled in large measure by some of the usual, often habitual, political defectors and by a large number of Jamaat-e-Islami members, including PTI Secretary General Dr Arif Alvi. Since the PTI does not hold internal elections and relies on nominations by fiat, it is likely that these familiar faces rather than PTI activists or any new leadership will contest elections.

To name a few:

Former Musharraf supporter and foreign policy crank Shireen Mazari (who was made a Vice-President of the PTI without an internal election)

Mian Azhar (a former governor of Punjab with PML-N who went on to found the PML-Q before returning to the PML-N)

Shahid Bhinder (formerly of PML-Q and Law Minister under Musharraf)

Farooq Amjad Mir (formerly of the PML-Q)

Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokar (formerly of PPP and PML-Q)

Ijaz Khan Jazi (formerly of PML-N who unsuccessfully contested a Rawalpindi by-election for the PTI in 2010)

Iftikhar Jhagra (formerly of PPP)

Khwaja Khan Hoti (formerly of the PPP and ANP, and former Minister of Social Welfare)

Tahir Rashid (formerly of PML-N and PML-Q)

Mian Mahmood ur Rasheed (former JI parliamentarian)

Masood Sharif Khan Khattak (formerly of PPP and a former Intelligence Bureau chief)

Former PPP Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quereshi is also set to join.

A notable former Jamaati in the top leadership is PTI Vice President Ejaz Chaudhry who was ejected from the JI after facing allegations of corruption. He is now the PTI’s advisor on religious affairs and Imran Khan’s point person in the Punjab. Chaudhry is also in charge of PTI’s youth wing, the Insaf Students Federation. Under him, ISF activists have been sporting bandanas reading “ISF al-Jihad.”

The PTI remains close to former MMA partners the JI and JUI, often jointly organizing rallies. In 2009, Imran Khan heaped praise on the JI’s then leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed at a seminar at the Lahore Press Club, referring to Ahmed as his “brother.”

Ties to extremism

More troubling are the links between the PTI and other extremist organizations in Pakistan. Over the summer, Imran Khan personally visited the Darul-Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak en route to a dharna (sit in) in Peshawar. The Darul-Uloom, an extremist seminary popularly known as “the University of Jihad,” is accused by the Federal Investigation Agency of being the launching pad for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. One of its more famous graduates is the Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani, who derives his name from his proud affiliation with his alma mater.

Moreover, in May this year Ejaz Chaudhury also attended a rally with Hafiz Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the political arm of the banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. The rally condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden, and declared him a “Martyr of Islam.” Funeral prayers were duly offered.

The flags of the Sipah-e-SahabaPakistan (SSP) have also become a sight seen at PTI rallies, some even featuring SSP-affiliated speakers. The SSP, a violently sectarian anti-Shia and anti-Christian organization, was banned as a terrorist group in 2002. SSP supporters are evidently folding into the PTI while carrying their own hateful agendas, as indicated by the presence of their distinct flags.

In the English press, Imran Khan condemns religious parties as “bigots completely lacking in compassion and tolerance,” as he states in his autobiography. However, the PTI’s cooperation with religious parties and extremist groups continues to proliferate, with press releases usually put out only in Urdu. Ejaz Chaudhury is reportedly a scheduled speaker at an upcoming SSP conference at the Lahore Press Club on November 15, 2011. Remember, the SSP is a banned terrorist organization. This is not out of character for the party. The PTI is frequently present at the events of extremist organizations such as the Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatm-e-Nubuwwat that hounds Ahmadis and celebrated Salman Taseer’s killer. This is hardly “enlightened Islam,” much less any kind of progressive politics.

Perhaps it is because of the PTI’s links to right-wing extremist groups that Imran Khan rarely condemns their hateful activities in public. Some former members of the PTI have even suggested that Imran Khan admires the bearded militants. However, he has made it clear through his statements and in his autobiography that he condemns the terrorism committed by the Tehreek-e-TalibanPakistan(TTP) and other such groups. Unfortunately, he usually does not do so publicly. From the bombing of Benzir Bhutto’s reception procession, to the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the bombings on Ahmadi congregations or Salman Taseer’s and Shahbaz Bhatti’s assassinations, Imran Khan blames the victims, the government or “foreign elements” only, never the terrorists.

There are hardly any examples of the PTI directly condemning Pakistani terrorist groups. This is stunning, given that of the 35000 Pakistanis that have been killed since 2001, a staggering 33000 have been killed in terrorist attacks or in military operations against militants, compared to around 2000 that have died in drone attacks.

In company with the religious parties, Imran Khan also opposed military operations against Islamist insurgents and al-Qaeda-linked foreign fighters, even in Swat after the TTP take-over of the territory in 2009. He believed the “root cause” of the terror unleashed in Swat was the region’s broken justice system. His fix was setting up Sharia courts as the TTP demanded. The PPP-sponsored Nizam-e-Adl regulations did set up Sharia courts in Swat. In return the TTP continued their march into Buner and other adjacent areas, vowing to continue fighting till their version of Sharia was imposed on the entire country. Imran Khan continued to oppose military action.

Blasphemy Laws

In November, 2010, Imran Khan gained considerable support from progressives for favouring amending Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, as they were “against the spirit of Islam and the Constitution of Pakistan.”

However, the PTI’s position quickly changed after Salman Taseer’s murder. After the outpouring of right-wing support for Taseer’s killer and Blasphemy Laws, Imran Khan dropped any talk of amending them. He now justifies their existence, and stated only that the laws should not be “misused.”

To underscore the PTI’s entente with right-wing forces, on January 30 – less than a month after Taseer’s murder – PTI activists and Vice President Ejaz Chaudhry attended a large rally of religious parties at The Mall in Lahore, pledging that his party would not allow any changes to Blasphemy Laws.

In recent (English language) interviews Imran Khan still speaks of reforming the laws. Yet the PTI attended a Namoos-e-Risalat rally in support of Taseer’s killer in Lahore on October 30 – one day before the Minar-e-Pakistan jalsa. Ejaz Chaudhry, speaking for Imran Khan (“Imran Khan ke taraf se…”), unequivocally stated that the Blasphemy Laws were a settled matter, and that being divine the PTI would tolerate no amendments.

There was no mention at all of blasphemy laws during the PTI jalsa on October 30, much to the chagrin of leaders of Pakistan’s minorities.

Democracy and the Military

Imran Khan’s democratic credentials are similarly mixed. He was an early supporter of the military coup by former president General Pervez Musharraf. He also supported the controversial referendum in 2002 that formally legitimated Musharraf as the President of Pakistan, rallying his supporters under the slogan of, “Musharraf first, all else second.” It was also reported that Musharraf personally intervened to secure Imran Khan’s narrow election victory, using both his imprimatur and state agencies.

Imran Khan has since admitted that his support for Musharraf was a mistake and that he had simply been “charmed” by the man. However, reports indicate that he has recently refreshed his ties with Musharraf (and Altaf Hussain) during a recent trip to London.

Rumours and reports (denied by Imran Khan) swirl about the PTI’s understanding with the Generals at GHQ. In any case, Imran Khan has already indicated a willingness to work with the military establishment. He recently attempted to redefine the relationship in the words, “The Establishment needs me, I don’t need the Establishment.” Tellingly, he also recently called on the army to intervene in enforcing Supreme Court judgements against the government. But his stance was most clearly conveyed when, perhaps sensing the government’s weakness after last years devastating floods, he stated, “Tehrik-e-Insaf will back military rule in the country for the sake of stability.”

Though an ad nauseum critic of American drone strikes, Imran Khan has never criticized the Pakistan military’s primary role in allowing the drones to fly and use facilities in Pakistan. Nor, for that matter, has he had much to say about civilian casualties as a result operations carried out by the Pakistani military, whether in Baluchistan or FATA. Nor has he extended his discourse on corruption to the military, even staying mum on recent revelations about the massive NLC scam.

For all the PTI’s talk of increased social spending, the PTI’s Manifesto also calls for the modernization of the military with emphasis on building up the air force and the navy, as well as mind-expanding nuclear weapons capability and ballistic missile arsenal. Given regional tensions, and that rapidly rising defence expenditure already represents 25% to a third of public spending, this is a dangerously expensive military laundry list.

Where do we go now?

Considerable momentum has built behind Imran Khan on the basis of the thinking that everyone else has been tried, so why not the PTI? This is nonsense on stilts, and perhaps the worst of all possible reasons to vote for the PTI. Firstly, it is not true. There are any dozens of political parties in Pakistan, including truly progressive options that have never been tried. And if Pakistan’s governance is to be a revolving door where everyone gets a turn, then should the likes of the SSP and the TTP line up too? After all, they have never been tried in government either.

But does any of the above provide an objective reason why Imran Khan should not get votes? It does not. Vote for the PTI if it approximates your beliefs and values despite – or even because of – its politics and associations. But remember politics, and particularly the democratic variety, is an inherently messy team sport. Even with a star player, the team and its strategies, alliances and associations matter.

Or perhaps the PTI represents the best out of a bad lot. After all, other political parties have also relied on the same old political elite, and courted religious bigots and the military for political advantage. Isn’t this just politics as usual in Pakistan? Precisely. Imran Khan’s is not the politics of change. It is politics as usual.


Shibil Siddiqi

A Journalist and Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Global Power and Politics at Trent University. He tweets as @ShibilSiddiqi

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

  • EoH

    Bravo man!!! Hats off to you! Now I will enjoy seeing the PTI Trolls and Online Jihadis ablaze by the article!

    Imran is no hero he is just hungry for power!Recommend

  • Tahir

    The article is using a single parameter:secularism.You can not bring change if you are not secular.We have tried seculars and islamists,both failed as the issue lies somewhere else.Imran would bring change because he makes us believe in our own capabilities(not US Aid),can rid Pakistan off corruption(remember no secular can do this),is against VIP culture(again secular themselves are VIPs),and loves to advocate and practice pro poor poliicies.
    No secular challenged a secular party’s senator Nayar Bukhari who had illegally captured land in Bani gala….But Imran did and got land back…See the differenceRecommend

  • Sariya

    crux has to be: PTI is the modern and sugar coated version of JI.. IK has a soft corner for TTP which brings in a lot of concerns.. Been indifferent on issues like suicide bombings, rights to minorities, women rights, etc. makes one’s opinion shaky.. In more harsh wors, it is the same ols topi drama presented in a new way!!Recommend

  • Munir Khan

    A sobering indictment of Imran Khan and his rather naive love affair with the mullahs.How on earth he could have backed Mullah Diesel to become PM is simply beyond parody.And reflects badly upon his critical faculties.Imran Khan is playing a clever game by avoiding spelling out his beliefs and manifesto by clinging to meaningless soundbites and platitudes.It is up to journalists to put him on the spot and question him relentlessly about his beliefs.The idea that he should be given a “turn”, is simply ludicrous.This is not a playground for kids to take turns on the swing!! Recommend

  • PTI supporter

    Its good that more discussions are being initiated by the younger generation, criticism is always welcome.

    But to answer your question regarding should we?

    simply apply the same critique to all other political parties and leaders….and you will have your answerRecommend

  • sana naeem

    excellent post. Recommend

  • Asad Shairani

    You nailed it in the last two sentences. It is politics as usual. Very well written.Recommend

  • Z Z

    This is one of the first well-written articles I have read about Imran Khan. I am one of those people that felt that he could do no wrong but you present an unbiased depiction of the reality. You have done a great job of reminding me that he is a politician and this it gets quite dirty in this line.
    I agree that IK has associated himself with people of questionable characters, not been clearly vocal about the terrorism issue, and quite general about his future plans. However, I think everyone (even his detractors) will agree that he genuinely loves his country. At a time when he could have utilized his fame for selfish purposes, he built us a state-of-the-art cancer hospital. When he had to choose between his sons or his country, he chose his country. When he had to choose between wealth and hardship, he chose to hold dharnas and sleep on the ground. I cannot think of leaders, even in the West, that have sacrificed as much as he has so that he can make a difference for us. We may as well put him to the test, we have tried the rest. Recommend

  • SM

    Release the trolls!Recommend

  • Sajjad Khattak

    You can say all the negative things that you want about IK. Look around and you will not find many choices. From the menu available, this is the onlu choice you can click on yes. Rest are all no no….. I will choose to take my chance on him rather than every other option availabe as he is not yet tested, while the others have failed miserably and repeatedly. Recommend

  • Naeem ur Rehman

    Reading all the comments, makes me think how easily some people buy twisted facts and even blatant lies. I’m going to vote for PTI even though I disagree with one or two of their current policies. Whatever is written in this article is to inject cyncisim and poison into some soft brains, against the most honest personality of Pakistan. Has this writer read the recent book by Imran Khan? Recommend

  • Modazul

    We Pakistanis will never learn. We keep crying that our leaders are pathetic but now that we have a chance to choose a good leader (Imran Khan) we are booing him all along. Thank God I’m not one if those Pakistanis. I’m tired of seeing the same crap heads like nawaz sharif and Zardari and Altaf Hussein. I am getting a chance to make a difference in my country now and I will by voting for the first time in my life that will be for Imran Khan. I don’t have any other option or interest in voting for another candidate. All those secularists and liberals seem to have nothing to do besides say crap about imran khan. I don’t care actually because I’m sure that Pakistan will never be a secular democracy like turkey or USA. An islamic democracy, Yes I hope so. Not extremism ok I meant proper Islamic democracy like at the time of the first three Caliphs when we began to rule the world cz pur religion made is so great.Recommend

  • Vasanth Pai

    I take my hat off to the writer for such exhaustive research on IK and his PTI. But as some of the comments pose – what is the alternative. the TINA factor ( there is no alternative) might help IK to come to power. Kowtowing to the majoritarian views and sentiments is what politicians do all over the world and you cant fault only IK for that. Give him a chance. I am sure there are countervailing forces which will ensure that he does not go over the edge. The only thing to watch is will elections be free and fair? Will it be free from violence? Keep your fingers crossed. Recommend

  • Aswad

    I will Vote for I.K Period.Recommend

  • HJ

    “There are any dozens of political parties in Pakistan, including truly progressive options that have never been tried”

    for example?Recommend

  • kashmiri

    u people are just jealous by the growth of Imran Khan … and its for the first time that power is slipping away from the elite class of pakistan .. Imran khan is hitting the right chords and it doesnt mattter wat u wannabe people say :P Recommend

  • K

    I don’t live in Pakistan but I have some extended family that does. And I’d like to leave my opinion to the so called progressive writers on this site.

    I have visited the PK a few times and have enjoyed my time there. But for people who have to earn a living from PK it is literally hell on earth. Don’t kid yourselves, u people have a pretty pathetic living standard. Almost every country worldwide has gotten pretty modernized as of late and it looks like Africa might even pass PK at this rate.

    In PK, ppl say one thing – all we need is leadership and the country will take off. I agree the location of the country and natural resources look to be immense. However, a people that pride themselves on figuring out how to cheat others and how to get away with doing the least amount of work is going nowhere fast. But I thought ok, Paki’s abroad do very well so whatever lets see.

    What got me interested In PK”s affairs was Imran Khan’s TV interviews. The way he handled those questions, and how he defended PK on CNN and BBC really opened my eyes. This guy was something and really raised Pakistan’s status in my view. Maybe God is showing some mercy on PK.

    But lo and behold, this is what I see on Tribune.I understand being afraid of change but what in the world are you protecting. You have nothing, You have the most incompetent and corrupt government on face of the planet. The world laughs at ur alternating egghead and joker leaders.

    You say – “There are any dozens of political parties in Pakistan, including truly progressive options that have never been tried.” – Are you kidding me? Im not well informed who is this you are talking about?

    I have honestly been VERY impressed with Khan on his interviews. The man knows what he is talking about. But its your country, if u want to live in a hell hole go right ahead, maybe u don’t deserve to have an honest leader like himRecommend

  • K

    ^ in my above post with “Africa” I meant the 3rd world African nations like Kenya. Its not something factual, just trying to make a point. Recommend

  • Tufail Cheema

    Inspite all mud slingings Imran is the only hope for saving of my beloved pakistan. Recommend

  • A.M.Malik

    Writers like Shibil Siddiqi are destined to be disappointed. No matter how much they twist their arguments to defame IK, youth is going to vote for him. This article is the best example of how you can fabricate arguments to malign someone. The confused liberals are trying their best to show Ik as another Mullah. But who is listening to them……..Ik is the idea whose time has come.Recommend

  • Asad

    @ SM remember this is www people can express what they believe in – so stop being arrogant.Recommend

  • Salman Zafar

    What other option do we have?
    Should we vote for you mr. Writer?

    Imran is the only option left to us.Recommend

  • Shaizy

    Observing quite a couple of days, why ET is persistent to campaign against I.K? Other media sites are showing a neutral picture but it seems that the myopic sight of ET just focused upon the conspiracy theories against PTI. Recommend

  • Khurum Khan

    Pathetic artcile….Freedom of speech is good but trying to make controversy out of everything is ridiculous. You have missed the point anyways….noone is talking about Imran being an angel but he’s certainly a team player and has leadership skills along with clean background.

    If he doesn’t shake with anybody then the other side of the argument would be produced the likes of you that he’s too stubborn and hasn’t got the team.

    Shameful artcile badly written…not sure why was it published.Recommend

  • سھیل

    Non else raised the issue of suicide bombing in such a vociferously as Imran did. In fact this is the single main point of all his campaign. So think again. Recommend

  • o_0

    A completely biased and pro-government write-up. IK is not an idiot, he understands the fact that in order to run the country in a peaceful manner he needs to unite all the forces in Pakistan. Religious parties and the establishment are, undeniably, very important forces in Pakistan which affect every policy which is made by the government. He needs to befriend them in order to share their influence and control it as well. He is right in saying that the ‘jihadis’ which were created by the US can be our asset if only we try to get them on our side. Issues can be resolved without drones and killing of innocent people. Our present government and the ‘dozen other parties’ that no one knows exists don’t understand these facts.Recommend

  • ex PTI supporter

    Lotacracy has gained momentum and at the moment Imran Khan is the only politician conducting Lotaas from all over just to win elections. If Qureshi or any other member from other party joins Khan I wouldn’t be surprised since the party has already been corrupted. Recommend

  • Mubashir Butt

    Why IK has suddenly stopped talking about drones and criticising America the way he used to. Why he’s targeting Nawaz shareef only ? Secondly will Khan criticize Altaf in Karachi ?Recommend

  • Sanity

    The whole concept of democracy is useless in predominantly feudal society as ours. Moreover, in a country which is based on religion, the religion will continue to be a tool in the hands of politicians.

    As far IK is concerned, he simply aims to be PM. If he was so concerned about revolutions, he would not accept LOTAZZZZ from other parties.

    Only revolution this country needs is that the establishment stops meddling into the politics, I don’t see that happening any time soon.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    This whole debate is quite pointless. The problem with some is they cant see religion specially Islam coming into politics. Hippocratics at best can all do is create rhetoric. In this blog all over the author is having fits with Imran Khan’s stance against foreign influence, which religious parties also share. Its time we realize we need someone to shift our foreign policies. Recommend

  • asghar

    very nice writing. i supported imran khan when he was leftist. but now PTI is home for rightist and mullah and others with feudal mindset. i followed old PTI general secretary Miraj Muhamad Khan saab to find Mazdoor Kissan Party and Worker Party of Pakistan, it is true representative of poor and working class people in Pakistan. i extend writer to join us also. i am following him also on twitter @shibilsiddiqi and asking him also to join. Recommend

  • us

    IK is the only hope and perhaps the last savoir of our nation. So glue together friends and be ready to turn up on poling day. Now no one can stop him Inshallah!Recommend

  • Aswad

    You nailed it !! That’s way Better than the article and make sense too!! Recommend

  • M.J.Khan

    Imran Khan’s Lahore speech has put the government and the opposition on the defensive. Every ‘jiyala,” is acting like an ostrich with it’s head in the sand, wishing the Imran Khan Phenomena would go away. Unfortunately for them every unrealistic wish does not come true. Pakistan has been raped, beaten, and robbed for 63 years. Its defenders are its 180 million people, who though down-trodden and exploited, have a steely core. These “sleeping giants,” are finally awake. Imran Khan is not only the person. Imran Khan is an idea, whose time has come. This idea has its roots in the foundation of Pakistan, which have been strengthened, by the blood of over a million Muslims in 1947. Their sacrifices will not have been in vain. This tsunami, named Imran Khan will sweep away 63 years of parasitic governance, gutter nepotism and septic corruption in Pakistan’s body politic.
    There is always a lag-time before a sleeping giant awakes, once it does, it demolishes the old and brings in the new order. Pakistan is a nation of dynamic people, whose forefathers, against all odds, broke the shackles of 200 years of Hindu and British domination. In 1947, they were first Muslims, then Pakhtuns, Sindhis, Balochis, and Punjabis, and in spite of abject poverty, hardships, and “eating grass,”developed a Nuclear Bomb and the means to deliver it. Let no enemy be under the illusion that they can destroy us. We are a People. We are an Idea. Ideas are immortal. They cannot be destroyed. The current dark clouds will pass over Pakistan and the nation will rise again. Our forefathers have done it before, we can do it again.Recommend

  • anum

    Nothing new.Imran khan has always openly criticized america’s policies on war on terror and in my personal opinion rightly so i mean its more then a decade n this war is anything but success and what does that mean? we need to STOP supporting the U.S i mean it doesn’t really get worse for us anyways, we also need to stop blaming islamic organizations and madrassahs all n all for being involved in terrorist activities.and tats exactly what he is doing trying to get to know the real problems what drives these young teenage boys blow themselves up poverty?ignorance?foreign support? knowing the cause is only going to give the real solutions not just building a wall around yourself and throwing bombs outside like musharaff and the present government is doing.talking to them does not make u a terrorist ALL PAKISTANI US INDIAN GOVERNMENTS, SPY AGENCIES HAVE HAD MEETINGS WITH THE LEADERS OF ALL THESE NETWORKS THE DIFF IS YOU NEVER KNOW ABOUT IT.Recommend

  • anum

    Nothing new.Imran khan has always openly criticized america’s policies on war on terror and in my personal opinion rightly so i mean its more then a decade n this war is anything but success and what does that mean? we need to STOP supporting the U.S i mean it doesn’t really get worse for us anyways, we also need to stop blaming islamic organizations and madrassahs all n all for being involved in terrorist activities.and tats exactly what he is doing trying to get to know the real problems what drives these young teenage boys blow themselves up poverty?ignorance?foreign support? knowing the cause is only going to give the real solutions not just building a wall around yourself and throwing bombs outside like musharaff and the present government is doing.talking to them does not make u a terrorist ALL PAKISTANI US INDIAN GOVERNMENTS, SPY AGENCIES HAVE HAD MEETINGS WITH THE LEADERS OF ALL THESE NETWORKS THE DIFF IS YOU NEVER KNOW ABOUT IT.Recommend

  • Omair

    First, i hope media and all these bloggers can take criticism as well. I find it strange that they are free to criticise but when you criticism them they will term it as abusive and non tolerent. This article is totally based on false information.

    Where has IK talked about “enlightened Islam” or that he would implement? totally fabricated. He has said that he (at a personal level) become a spiritual person and belief in Allah has increased but he has never said that he would spread enlightened Islam,

    Secondly, regarding right wing extremist groups and TTP, totally false statements again, IK has very strongly condemn not only extremist activities and suicide bombings but also all militant groups and wings. He has repeatedly said that the military operation was launched in 2004 and TTP came into existence in 2007, and if he was to make a policy it would be to get the confidence of the tribal areas to smoke the miltants out. He has also said that he wouldve targetted (and hunted them through surgical operations) and not thru massive drone and air strikes on tribal areas. It is actually mind set of “liberals” to avoid collateral damage, right of life and not to give sentence without fair trial. Tell me if there are terrorist hiding in a house next to yours would you allow the army to have air strikes – knowing you and your family would be the collateral damage? every civilised country tries to infact save as many civil lives and would continue hours and days to save as many lives. not us. not our liberals. just finish the militants. thats our progressiveness.

    Linking him with MMA is also misplaced. He has neither backed them or supported them. As far as education reform of Madrassas are concerned he has objected because we have different education systems and Imran Khan believes that the entire country has one education system, so true talent and merit is supported. Right now Pakistan has 4 education system – Madrasses, Urdu Medium, English medium and then O-A levels. Those who end up studying Madrassah and Urdu medium eventually get low salary jobs, where as English Medium and O-A Levels end being on the top socio economic jobs. How does it equate to support MMA when he believes that there should be one education system? Regarding Salman Taseer he has infact said that the he has the same opinion of it being misused (look at his interview on BBC Hard Talk in August 2011) and that the Pakistan society is totally polarised and tolerance level low.

    Personally I think all those who thought IK was an urban myth limited to FB and Twitter got the shock of their life, and still haven’t able to digest. All their calculations and permutation have gone wrong. And what they do best, bring consparicy theory – backed, supported and funded by establishment. Everyone who i know went to Minar e Pakistan in Oct 30th had never gone to a jalsa before, even my family and i know majority of your affliations would say the same. And no the establishment didnt push them.

    We are an unfortunate nation to have IK. For giving us a glimmer of hope, for making us dream again. We dont deserve this. We deserve the leeches. After how many of us (who can afford, have made driving licences, passport or having to deal with the govt offices without reference or bribe – oh sorry “commission to agent”. Maybe for a change in this country we need to bring a nation from somewhere else as well. Recommend

  • Zach Khan

    I read some of your article but its pretty much a rehash of all the other “paranoia campaigns” started by the so-called liberals. The general technique is use guilt by association, meaning you assume that if Imran Khan knows someone, he automatically holds the same values as that person. The same misinformation campaign was started by FOX news in America against President Obama. They called him a “closet-Muslim”, and associated him with a controversial pastor. These are old tricks but they still work on the masses. I really don’t need a bunch of amateur journalists to scare me from Imran Khan, I have seen his interviews. He is a man of integrity, and he doesn’t act like a clown. Look at the current politicians, they are all a bunch of wanna be actors. Everybody wants to be on in front of the camera for 5 mins everyday. Zardari – he is the infamous Mr.10%, Gilani – I have seen a few of his interviews and didn’t wanna take him seriously… he just doesn’t come off as a leader type, more of figurehead. If there is any hope to save Pakistan its in Imran Khan’s leadership. Recommend

  • farhan

    Long live IK. If you dont like him then feel free to vote Zardari. Roona to pakistani loogoon ki aadat hai. My vote goes for IK. Recommend

  • tayyab

    well researched and accurately pointing the flaws within IK ..been an ardent supporter of pti for years da post jalsa has made me think and reflect in true sense on pti and imran khan and i personally feel that it is a journey towards a bitter disillusionment , turncoats infilterating da rank and files of pti.and da senseless,more mechanical defence by insafians of IK by quoting him excessively without even questioning his policies , insafians appear more to be like robocops , i m one disillusioned ardent supporter of pti.,post jalsa because da way da game is shaping up it truly is a journey toward disillusionment…. Recommend

  • tayyab

    moreover IK should stop backtracking on issues for which he initially stands up… Reading the blog seriously has arise more questions in my made that is pti be da gud looking jamaat islami….IK is an honest person no doubt but a team with hardline entities in it surely not a good prospectRecommend

  • Rudaina

    Finally a different perspective, and a well researched article on Imran Khan. Recommend

  • Ferrocious H

    Very well written article, inquestive, investigative and fun.

    Imran Khan is a newbie in politics. He does not know what it means to be George Bush or Benazir Bhutto. Or to grow in a family where Politics is a norm. Politics itself is an art, a skill. Like a cut throat business man, or a very successful lawyer. For a person to understand how a lawyer works, he really has to think of the profession. The profession is to take a client, and fight for him. Right or wrong is secondary, but to make his victory your victory. Very interesting to a person who sees a movie like ‘Devil’s advocate’ …

    The point I am trying to make is that politics is an art, Imran has really tried hard to get where he is. He has realized many things on his way, his intention in the beginning might be something but his journey has moulded him to this totally new profession. Politics is making alliances, false promises, getting the people ignited, getting in the good books of people who can make significant difference, and everything is ‘weighed’. Who has more weight? one must think of that question before every move in politics.

    Imran Khan. When he started we remember that in a TV interview he would get stumbled on one question in the beginning and then change his views in the middle and then conclude with something totally different. Perserverance. Thats the key, he is like that kid in ‘Gatica’ who wants to be an astronaunt, but his body is not programmed as the rest of the candiates. So lets all cut him some slack…

    Pakitan needs an army of revolutionary headed by one or two smart men, who truely want to empower our people. Not the people who live in Defense or outside Pakistan and are very interested in things getting better. We are talking about the people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The kids who don’t have water, electiricity, religion, education to look forward too. Some of them now can’t even leave their houses because of the flood. This is not Tribune news, the Internet, the English speaking skills, this is the 78% of our 135 million population. The majority!

    The army needs guns, they need to take one province at a time. Fuedal lords will have to die and their houses/castles will be the provincial head quarters for the revolutionary army. The uprising will start and will be guided into other provinces and army will have to be fougth with on the top. The high ups, will have to go, run, or die. Outgoing funds will have to be terminated short term, and the rich will have to be VERY heavily taxed. (maybe even arrested-interrogated). Wealth will have to be massively re distributed. Army funding would have to go down to bare minimal and the full funding will have to be on education. Funding the army is pointless, we are already invaded.

    “Chipak raha hai badhan par, laho sey para-han,
    Ab hamaree jeb ko hajaat e rafoo kya hai”
    – Mirza Ghalib

    We have much bigger worries than being invaded by India. Who are we really feeding? Hell, blood will have to flow through our land one more time. Recommend

  • Naseem Islam

    “There are any dozens of political parties in Pakistan, including truly progressive options that have never been tried.’ Like who???????Recommend

  • Junaid

    Imran Khan is not an extremist. Imran Khan is a moderate. He is not a liberal extremist either. He is a moderate in every sense of the word. Just because he doesn’t agree with U.S. policies in our region does not make him an extremist. Who would want their villages and towns to be bombed by a foreign drone that kills innocent men, women, and children. Give him a chance. If not Imran then who can we support? Zardari? Nawaz Sharif? We dont want to bring back the 90’s when Benazir and Nawaz were taking turns looting the country. We will not let Zardari and Nawaz take turns looting the country in this decade.Recommend

  • billo

    Incredible. Of all the IK supporters floating here not a single one has actually challenged any of the facts or tried to explain why its acceptable for PTI to be associating with terrorist organizations. Don’t complain the article is biased simply because it highlights facets of the truth that you would like to run away from and hide behind personal attacks on the writer. Great article, superbly researched. Keep it up. Recommend

  • Ayesha Ijaz Khan

    Very well researched. Impressed.Recommend

  • Shayaan Ahmed Matin

    Brilliantly written article I must say, in terms of setting up and structuring a valid argument, my hats off to you. However, it is not the content of the article that I disagree with, as there were several valid points and arguments in general (I do disagree with some accusatory statements mentioned). The main problem I have with the article is the complete argument you have presented out, which is that the PTI is a poor or insufficient party to run the elections. Believe me, I agree with you entirely that our public does tend to engage in unreasonable logic to make election decisions, but at the end of the day, despite the reports and criticisms levelled the numbers and statistics do stand solid, the policies we see hold strong and at the end of the day, looking at the pack, if I had a voting ballot tomorrow by all means the PTI would have my vote, not for today, but a brighter tomorrowRecommend

  • Bilal

    ‘There are any dozens of political parties in Pakistan, including truly progressive options that have never been tried’
    Enlighten me sir :)Recommend

  • InnovativeThinker

    First Off. Bravo Shibil for using the art of straw man fallacy for directing your audience to be skeptical about their so far held beliefs. I do admire your art of writing such an article.

    But to address your concerns, I do feel the dire need to give a my perspective to your readers.

    1, You mentioned names of a few members of the PTI who were initially part of some other political parties of Pakistan. That my friend, is a good way of pointing fingers at PTI as a solution of running away from convincing yourself that PTI is not for you. Every political party needs provincially and nationally strong candidates to compete in elections. What’s more important is that the candidates given tickets for the party should be more open to personal accountability, which the party chairman is taking well care of to maintain the corruption free image of the party.

    2. Your argument of relating IK with Extremist groups do tend to spread a smile on my face, making me think, this guy really has the skill to get people double minded about their beliefs. The point you raised here, is surprisingly one of his strengths. He does not have a hostile approach towards the militant groups, but neither has he ever given a welcoming statement for them. Its his diplomacy against the terrorist organizations due which it has been possible for him to address a big crowd in Waziristan without a bomb blast. Regardless of how much you condemn these militant groups, we have to accept that they are part of us, and we need to educate them, rather than eliminating them.

    3. You mentioned his support in early Musharraf’s presidential years. Isn’t that the time when Musharraf actually had a popularity vote? Am not supporting the controversial referendum of Musharraf in 2002, but I am looking at a broader picture of what the mass majority of the nation felt about Musharraf. He did have a charismatic personality, and admiring that personality at a time when most of the nation is happy about it, by no means make IK unworthy of trust. It were the later years of Musharraf that proved him to be a man striving for his personal interests, which initially seemed to be national. And why would you mention rumors in your article to support your stance?

    4. Last but not the least, his belief in strengthening the military. Do you the only reason why China cannot ever become a super power? Because it does not have enough military to sustain the title. In this era of modern warfare, Darwin’s theory of social class system, “Survival of the Fittest” is highly applicable. And I am quoting this from our beloved American approach. So lets not close our eyes on the unavoidable importance of strengthening our military.

    And FYI, none of the drone planes were flown from any of the military bases of Pakistan. So stop trying to manipulate the facts.


  • Adnan Ali

    The author has fixated on some points and I would like to show the other side. Firstly, I happen to know about Ejaz Chaudhry as his personal business is in the same industry as my family business. Within the industry, he is known to be clear of corruption or the kind of charges that are usually put on businessmen. Furthermore, within a party, there are people from all different backgrounds and thoughts and what does matter is what the official party line is on any given topic. I checked Ejaz Ch. statements regarding attending SSP events, and he has said that he has attended events where multiple religious groups and parties have been invited, giving an example of a ‘seerat’ conference and ‘milaad’ event.

    Coming to democracy and military section, I would like to make the point that after Musharraf take over, PTI was not the only party to support the seven point reform agenda. When, though, Musharraf strayed away from his own agenda, IK was the first to oppose him and publicly apologized for supporting him in Capital Talk with Hamid Mir. In the scenario where no other mainstream party can claim to be free of establishment upbringing, PTI is the only party to be offered a role in the Musharraf held government and rejected it. Since then, PTI is the only party with consistent anti establishment stance keeping the army within its constitutional role. The author uses an ARY link to enforce the view that Imran Khan supports Army takeover of the government. I was bewildered because I do not remember hearing this before. Hence, I went back and checked the link and also dug up the video from the ARY program Views on News with Dr. Shahid Masood. As suspected, the video confirms that the quote was incomplete and pulled completely out of context. Here is a link to the video ( The discussion was about a hypothetical scenario where chaos rules the street and violence brings the state to a halt. First the scenario was discussed for Karachi, hence the reference to Altaf’s call for army to hold operation in Karachi, and then the scenario was expanded by the host to the state of Pakistan. It was iterated again and again by IK that marshal law is no solution and will not be accepted, but if such a scenario exists then the army can come to help the government. I can well imagine that since this is a blog section, the author did not make the effort to check upon the resources, although he does call himself a freelance journalist. I guess being freelance means he can be free of journalistic burden and values.

    Finally, to the blasphemy law. IK is the only politician in Pakistan to have spoken against the murder of Salman Taseer but also the misuse of the law. The law is there for a purpose and a majority of Pakistanis believe it being there is a must to stop exactly what happened. It is the misuse that must be stopped. In a recent interview IK made a statement that the law should not be misused. The author also made a mistake in this section as he wrote that IK supported change in the law at first but then changed his stance after the murder. In fact, IK’s support for changing the law to stop misuse came after the murder as prior to that no such comment was made by him. Hence, how could he have changed his stance?

    The left and right divide in Pakistani politics is overshadowed by politics of reconciliation. Progressives must understand that they need to take progressive stances first on issues that matter the most to majority of Pakistanis. Then can they bring in their beloved western, good to have, initiatives. We need progressive solutions to thana culture, land reforms, education specially for women, inheritance rights for women, revenue collection and a ban on any kind of militant groups and politics. Recommend

  • Abubakar

    Great Article!!! IK has no policies. With his rhetoric of just speaking against others don’t make him a leader. His confused personality can prove fatal for pakistan – God forbid. Lets hope people vote for policies, not personalities … Recommend

  • Adeel

    I was a great supporter of PTI but after watching the reality of IK, extremist attitude of his fans and Aashirbad of establishment against democracy, i have quit PTI instantly. Going to join PML(N), i think the only party which has temperament and ability to meet the challenges.Recommend

  • Ali Nawab

    This is one of the most well researched articles I’ve read recently. To be relevant at the National level, Imran Khan needs to appeal to the masses…which he is doing quite well through alliances and by supporting popular sentiments.. Not talking to anyone from SSP etc doesnt resolve the issue, but initiating dialogue eventually will. While IK too has made his share of policy mistakes (Swat, ..) he is the only relevant non-corrupt potential leader. I request that good journalists like yourself keep asking the above questions to keep IK accountable…I encourage you to write a follow up to this article every few months leading up to the election..Recommend

  • zunaish chahduary

    imran is such a perfect person for pakistan he can save the pakistan we pepole should support him as much as we can specially our youth who can save the pakistan he is surely not a corrupt person like our other members of politics so,i want to give all of you just one message please please suppport imran and save the pakistan yes we khan and we should chang and also perfect future of pakistanRecommend

  • Osama

    Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one – Friedrich Nietzsche. Imran and PTI, out to fight monsters, will do well to heed Nietzsche.Recommend

  • Nofil Naqvi

    Brilliantly written! Well thought-out and researched. You’ve given me all the armament I need against my idiot friends who’ve unfortunately started supporting PTI. And indeed their excuse always turns out to be to ‘give them a try too’.Recommend

  • a religius man

    Oh no only a bloody a mullah can rid us of secularism, the bloodiest of all the mullahs fazul rahman is the most corrupt ,What have you been smoking ? or what halwa have you been eating ?Recommend

  • a religius man

    @HJ: PKMAP
    Labour party
    should i go on ?Recommend

  • Adnan Butt

    Imran Khan is the most contradictory politician in Pakistan. Some times he in this extreme & other time he is in other extreme. Such a person is extremely unfit to lead a country. he is just like Gaddafi of Libya.. IK always swinging between the extremes. If he not on one extreme, it means he is onto the other extreme.

    So IK fan must come out of fantasy world.Recommend

  • Junaid Ahmed

    I just want to say, for Imran Khan, we have to do an extensive research just to criticize and accuse him.However, for PPP,PML-N,MQM,ANP, and others we DONT HAVE TO DO ANY RESEARCH BECAUSE THEIR IS EXTENSIVE MATERIAL AVAILABLE TO CONVICT THEM.Imran Khan knows what he is talking about, nobody can challenge his honesty ,credibility and determination.Sitting in opposition for 15 years is not a piece of cake, he had been offered power many times but he reject.why? because of his ideology and principle stance! Imran Khan proved everyone wrong on Oct 30 and thus so-called liberal trying their best to undermine his massive support.
    Long live Imran Khan & my vote is for PTI.Recommend

  • Muhammad uzair sukhera

    All the tone of article suggests is that its a perfect world and its either eith us or against us scrnario! PTI’s strategy is issue based politics and all you are judging them on is the ideology based politics.

    If some law is presented its not to be accepted just by title. Women protection bill does not qualify to be accepted just by its name right? One can object it based on merits and clauses. Once its ammended it can be accepted. Why doesnt it appear to you that a lot of stuff is circumstantial and varies over time.

    Moreover, like another reader commented you are basing your analysis on secularist basis assuming all in name if religion is bad! This is a real world and every party in an issue will have conflicts of interests with others. Jugde every instance on its metrics and not in a broad sweep.Recommend

  • Rabia Tahir

    Well I want to know what is Imran Khan’s specialty in running the state affairs? has he ever run a UC in his life? Adding insult to injury, rejected PML-Q deliminators are raining into PTI. How can he bring the change with those turncoat who has been rejected by the people of Pakistan in 2008. Some people are supporting him just in fashion. Okay lets try some thing new.. But a fashion can not sustain more than one season. so as the season changes IK’s popularity will be the incident of the Past.Recommend

  • Rabia Tahir

    Imran Khan is extremely unfit for leading the Pakistan.Recommend

  • Talat Haque

    Imran Khan reminds me of the portrait of Dorian GrayRecommend

  • Sanity

    All you awaam commenting on the blog have no credibility to speak against him or anyone, because

    Aap logon ne apne asaasey hee declare naheen kiye

    Sab se pehle Asaase declare karein,

    then baat karein.Recommend

  • HJ

    No more sharifs, zardaris and zardari bhuttos. Hail IK!Recommend

  • faisal khan

    Khan is true and brave leader of PakistanRecommend

  • Hasan Ansar

    Lets try him out. He is going to better then the what we have now and the sharif brothers.
    I love the article thou. Recommend

  • zn

    he built us a state-of-the-art cancer hospital for the elite; *and hired doctors with foreign medical qualifications (the hospital rarely hires physicians who have Pakistani fellowships!!) ; belief in Pakistani products indeed ?? .* When he had to choose between his sons or his country, he chose his country.(as by doing that he could keep them away from Pakistan; ensure the their safety ; and also become a hero; do you believe that this is really a sacrifice? talk about having his cake and eating it too! ) When he had to choose between wealth and hardship, he chose to hold dharnas and sleep on the ground (that makes him what Mahatams Gandhi**??) . Recommend

  • Omair

    @billo i did. and again you should also get your facts right!! Recommend

  • Maha Shah

    @Z Z: it is actually very biased. Not to blow your bubble. Im all for someone convincing me why we should vote for him, beyond the fact that he’s IMRAN KHAN, former cricketer and the person behind shaukat khanum? The one whos always had a fan following, long before his political career? someone the elite could relate to? young? not tried? just coz?
    but im at a lost for words, how biased this article is, because while it goes on to critically analyse IK’s political career so far, you have failed to mention anything that would be an ‘unbaised’ (so to speak) possibly, advantageous to further his career. Indeed its commendable how unlike old times, many of us are questioning and speaking up, not following blindly. But either of the two extremes; ignorance for his faults (or PTI’s) OR blind faith for all his pros (or PTI’s), is absurd. As for the author’s mention of ‘IK never speaking against drone attacks” etc. He has on occasion dont that and laid special emphasis on the ending it. He also mentioned it in his speech from 30th oct minar e pakistan jalsa.
    While im at it, someone commented saying something on the lines of lets put all others to this test too, for instance PPP & PML-N i agree completely, if we are going to be critical of PTI and IK might as well play fair and put everyone else through the same critical analysis.
    But in your own words, its politics as usual. Lay man can not grasp, where one has to bend & when to hold ground. We’re not living in olden times. Things are much more complicated, I believe in the larger picture and this believe if IK has a strategy for long term and is compromising here and there in the short term. He has my vote. As for the rest, im a lay man like you. I can not comprehend politics, and how dirty it is to even be part of it. Its a filthy game, we all must agree. how do we expect it would be simple & easy as pumpkin pie? even that isnt easy :p But good effort indeed.Recommend

  • AKS

    Soon your intellectual mudslinging and fact twisting ,secular thoughts will be history . You have no stomach to see a challenging which may demolish your perverted thoughts and philosophy .It is simple Pakistqan should be run be clean lot of People .And we have to empower those people. Time has come to say goodby for ever to the chiefs of fiefdoms,lords of bratheries,warlords,mafia dons, the black mailers who play Sindhi ,Baluchi ,Pashton, Punjabi and Saraki cards.Who have kept there people in miserable conditions , who thinks in the prehistoric terms ,who are against the apiration of Muslim People of Pakistan ,Who are offsprings mureders of Muslims during the British Raj. We need a n honest Mr Clean who can dimantle the nexus of corrupt leaders.
    Yes Khan We Do.We have no choice ,for the sake of us ,for the sake of country for the sake of our generations to come We must Do .We should do it.The time is Ripe .The Tsunami is building.Watch before people like you will face the unprecedented tide.Recommend

  • Bilal

    Dude now you’re just stooping to the level of stupidity. He made you a state-of-the-art Hospital and you dig deep to find flaws in that too. Why dont you Mr. Perfect go ahead, gather funds and make a hospital that treats its patients without any discrimination and on top of that hire Pakistani physicians?? Why cant you people stop being so negative about everything? When people like you (parhay likhay jahil) cant do anything for the country then at least let these people try!Recommend

  • Shibil Siddiqi

    Thanks for all the comments here – I’m really grateful to everybody who took the time to do so. I wanted to respond to some themes that I’ll do in this and the following post. If there is anything specifically you would like me to respond to, please let me know. I’ll do my best to do so in a timely way.

    Theme 1: Alternatives. I think I would do readers a disservice by blatantly shilling for other political parties by naming alternatives. Moreover, my alternatives might not be the same as yours because we might be looking for different things in a party we might support. You don’t need me – or anyone else – to tell you who out there is worthy of your vote. Make up your own mind. The beauty of it all is that you can. It’s easy to get on the internet and research alternatives. As a starting point (since you’re here), read through the comments for some examples readers have provided.

    Theme 2: IK is personally clean. Sure. So was Zia. So what? Who are IK’s partners and running mates what do they represent? One man can’t run a country of 180 million. So look at who else will be running it. In light of this, PTI is playing the game, not changing it.

    Theme 3: Religion in politics. My personal opinion on the issue – though fairly clear in this article – doesn’t matter. If you have no problems with PTI partnering with religious parties and extremist/terrorist groups like SSP/LeT then I concede the start of the article: the PTI is your natural choice. This article was aimed at those who might think twice about such associations.

    The purpose of the article was to edify and stimulate debate, not to sway any PTI voters already aware of the stance on these issues. Please, whatever you do, remain politicized and vote. But do it with your eyes open. There is nothing worse than the rage of dashed hopes to derail democracy in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Shibil Siddiqi

    On disputes with the facts: I did more than my due diligence in researching the facts and provide appropriate references, so of course I will treat any honest detraction fairly seriously. So I’m happy to discuss any allegations of wrong facts here and/or elsewhere (email, blog, twitter). But as far as possible I will avoid arguments over interpretation of facts e.g.

    @InnovativeThinker says IK’s association with extremist groups is a strength. My point was the association itself, whether or not it is a strength or not is a question of opinion. And FYI: there are aerial photographs of drones parked at Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan publicly available on the internet.

    @Adnan Ali So you’re agreeing Ejaz Chaudhry has attended events where multiple religious parties, including the SSP, have been present? Please clarify. And I watched the entire interview (and many others) prior to including IK’s quote of favoring military intervention. IK makes it very clear what he is saying, and the quote captures it perfectly. It might not be martial law, but it’s a military intervention to topple an elected government. Isn’t that what Musharraf did? A coup without martial law in the name of stability? But thanks for providing the link, readers can watch and judge that for themselves.

    @Omair – I’ve provided a reference in the article itself for “enlightened Islam”. Moreover, IK discusses “enlightened Islam” specifically in his recent autobiography. So sorry, but my quote is hardly fabricated. Further, please share any links of him condemning specific extremist groups, I’ll happy to be wrong. And that still leaves direct cooperation with groups like SSP and LeT. On the MMA you can split hairs but the fact is you don’t get more supportive than wanting the MMA to provide Pakistan’s PM. Re: Salma Taseer, I’ve provided links to official PTI news releases on the contrasting positions, as well as what Ejaz Chaudhry’s position has been. It’s fairly clear. Please let me know if I’ve missed anything. Thanks. Recommend

  • Fauzh

    If the system remains the same and only the face at the top changes…how will that be a real change? And the article correctly points out what IK ‘s political ideology is….which is in line with the right wing religious parties. I K had no problem with the Taluban rule of Swat. So be careful before you cast a vote out of desperation for change….just think it out.Recommend

  • shahid Faheem

    Hey everyone…..

    I do not know what’s wrong if establishment is with Imran Khan.? Media will never stop its notorious role to cast aspirations on every one who speaks for Islam, Pakistan and People of Pakistan.What ever the charges will be against Imran khan, Youth will be with him till the end.In 63 years we have never give a chance to neither democracy nor Islamic form of government.So cheer up and chance chance to pure democracy which Imran khan bring back. Recommend

  • MA

    Hats off to you on such an informative article. Very well written. What Imran Khan portrays and what PTI actually is are two different worlds. Recommend

  • AJ

    I read this article first with anger then with anguish. I was immedietly sure this was another propaganda article about Imran Khan. But I read it again, checked the references and did some more research. I have been a PTI supporter for a long time. I proudly waved a PTI flag at Minto Park. But I cannot support PTI anymore. Its depressing. 2 weeks ago I was riding on a wave of hope. But the hope was made of false dreams. Now I have to keep looking for a party that will truly make Pakistan better. Sorry PTI, you are not it. Recommend

  • sas

    Be informed people here are just following the tideRecommend

  • Rizwan Liaqat

    As an Imran Khan supporter, I find it incredulous that liberals will go out of their way to label Khan an extremist and a Taliban apologetic, while extremists will go out of their way to label Imran Khan an immoral person who is a “yahoodion ka agent”.

    A man just cannot bleeping win in Pakistan no matter what his track record speaks of. Had any other of our past leaders been scrutinised half as much before they came to power, we wouldn’t have been in this position in the first place. I agree some other Imran Khan supporters here, we don’t deserve the likes of him.Recommend

  • Adnan

    @Rizwan Liaquat and other IK supporters I it’s funny that you constantly criticize other politicians and are all praises about Pakistani media as long as it doesn’t shine any light on IK’s record. And all politicians have faced same scrutiny. Maybe you are too young to remember all the scrutiny of Benazir in 1988 when her university photos were bring carried by pro establishment papers. Now more open and such stories to educate the public are to be commended. Debate the facts rather than turning everything into a conspiracy or personal attack. Recommend

  • Sana

    First of all thanks to author for writing such a shrewd comprehensive article on IK. Though i was aware of his some associations with right wing but some of these associations were new to me. Glad i knew it now. No i will think twice before voting for him.

    I was always an admirer of IK. I loved him as a cricketer and as an philanthropist. In my school days, i took the responsibility of collecting donations for his hospital. In spite of all this, i do not consider him a leader. His policies keep changing and so his views. I don’t need to criticize him further because everyone knows what’s wrong with him, However, what i am amazed at is that his supporters refuse to look at this picture. Please don’t downplay his views on WOT. Army is not stupid for fighting against terrorists. It concerns our security. As for drone attacks, our army also carried out aerial bombings in FATA. They could be blamed as well if we have to blame CIA drone attacks.

    To all IK supporters! IK has become a cult and everyone is following him. He will prove another Obama. Before following him as the only alternative, make sure he is really different than the current lot. To me he is playing usual politics, not new.Recommend

  • Abid

    “No wonder this blog is subsidiary of New york times”. Leave Imran alone guys, his fault is that he’s not a hypocrite and he share’s his belief, contrary to others who appear on mainstream media. I find him a man of his words. Out of 65 years of independence this country has been led by right wingers for mere 17-18 years and rest 47 years by hard core extremist left wingers( bhuttos, ayub, Musharaf, etc). All these pro western leaders did nothing except to weaken the foundations of this country. I identify myself with imran ….as i go and say my prayers i watch TV listen to music enjoy with my family but most of all have a pro-found love for my Prophet PBUH. I am not ashamed of being a muslim, and i am proud of being a Pakistani. Reading this article made me feel that who so ever wants to lead this country should declare himself a hard core leftist or a fanatic right winger as there is nothing in between. For God’s sake …is there anyone moderate around here???…In Imran Khan i find a hope ….he’s son of our soil ….he has dreams, some he has fulfilled some are yet to be fulfilled . He’s done what no other so called holier than thou “political leader” has ever achieved, a hospital which does not discriminate between religion , race or creed. He’s developed a system which is not dependent on him to run it rather a set of people has been designated to do the job. This is what democracy is all about… a system run on majority decision and not on individuals. Imran brings hope for the down trodden …he has promised us a very hard thing and that is “Change”…Most of those who are on this blog might not have descended from their luxurious lodgings ever and voted for a change in Pakistan…it is my humble opinion that lets get out this time and rub our shoulders with the commons and vote for a change . If he does not deliver ….vote him out next time. Why cant we vote for Imran if we can vote for those Zardaris, Shareefs, Khosas etc. Pakistanis….vote for change … as it has already started to come… be a part of it or else you’ll remain in same state as you’ve always been i.e confused…as this is what mass media wants you to be. Peace to all. Pakistan ZindabadRecommend

  • asghar

    zabardast article. the facts are really hard hitting. maybe some have stomach to vote for IK after knowing he supports banned terrorists organizations like SSp and LeT that have killed thousands of innocent pakistanis. i know i dont.Recommend

  • hassan

    i will vote for imrasn khan.. he is the next leader of pakistanRecommend

  • fauji

    this article says at the start that if you have no problem with imran khan and the mullahs then PTI is your party. what PTI supporters dont seem to like is that their great leaders hypocrisy is now in the open. they would prefer to keep people who do not support extremists in the dark about what PTI is really up to. writer here has done nothing except tell the truth. if people really beleive writer is lying then they would debate writer on facts. writer has made offer but no PTI supporter has taken the offer. because the truth is on the side of this writer and you can not debate with the truth. Recommend

  • usman

    Wait! While some of things are perceptions the other lake a modicum of truth! It would need another article of same length to deny the libel charges, I am sorry, I am a PhD student and wont waste time on replying to most of the nonsense. The article is in line with the bigoted liberal and opposition fascists, “Repeat Falsehood till construed as truth”.Recommend

  • ashk


    And I supose the Zardaris and Sharifs are in the politics business out of their tremendous love and desire to “serve” the people of Pakistan?Recommend

  • UK

    No matter who shows up at the helm of Pakistan’s affairs, the bottom line is that the fate of its people is in their control. Our people, who I believe are generally courageous and better equipped than the Arabs (ref. Arab spring), are certainly in a better position to chart a prosperous course for Pakistan. We have to quit pointing fingers and hold everyone responsible for their acts, whether it’s the army, bureaucracy or politicians. Also, we can forget about any sustainable development in Pakistan unless the main pillars start to perform their jobs and stop middling in others’ affairs.

    The hundred and eighty million dollar question is that why have we become so complacent and why won’t the deprived rise and get their rights, after all we all know who are the corrupt politicians and institutions? Recommend

  • ashk

    So I suppose Zardaris and Sharifs are in politics because of their love and desire to “serve” the people of Pakistan, right?

    The “devotion” of Zardari-Sharif to the poverty-stricken people of Pakistan has been all too apparent in the way Pakistan has declined and barely surviving after 20 years of looting …unless of course you choose…no wait…INSIST on turning a blind eye towards their “PLUNDER PARTY.” Recommend

  • XOR

    The article is good example of cherry picking on certain issues and twist it to serve the writer’s attempt to depict all bad picture of Imran Khan and PTI. Writter tried really hard to align IK with rightist religious parties. FYI the PTI never been in alliance with any religious party. The only alliance which was PTI part was APDM. You will see PTI sitting with religious parties that is when they were part of APDM.

    If someone has followed Imran Khan over time, he will find that IK always gave examples of Scandinavian countries, UK and other western countries, when things come to democracy, good governance and what type of the system Pakistan should have. He never ever quoted example of Saudia Arabia or Iran. So what does it indicates?
    Its really strange that STILL there are people who try really hard to associate with fanatics whereas they always comfortably ignore and ignore that he always quote from western democracies.

    The writer skillfully picked some of the names that recently joined PTI, like PTI is all for lotas and give them imp positions by returning them some favour. FYI, All of those who recently joined non of them has given any position in party nor they got any party ticket. They have joined like any Pakistani. There is very clear position of PTI, no one would be given PTI ticket until and unless he or she declared all of his/her asset. That gonna be one major condition for candidates along with no corruption charges on him.

    It seems that writer did not find anyone other then lotas in PTI, this only indicates his bias. If the writer put a little sincere effort to research about the leadership of PTI he will find lots of new faces, who are educated and carries a several years of experience in different fields. It seems writer was more focused on targeting one individual. He should go to PTI website and check the profile of all leadership and spokespersons of PTI. Moreover I hope the writer knows that one can have their own personal beliefs which is not necessarily meet with other people of the party, but what important is party vision, party policies and party stance on different issues.

    Regarding Blasphemy law, PTI is all for modifying it, IK even moved one step ahead he recommended that a committee should be made which not only comprise of Muslims but also from minorities. This committee should forward recommendations for modification so it should be acceptable for all and it should be make sure that this law would not be abused.
    I hope the writer knows that IK has said Qadari a murderer many times, the most recently he called him in Karan Thapar interview.

    IK is moderate, he is not extremist of any side. He is right blend of East and West. We need a person like him who should not look alien to his own society, along this that person should carries progressive thoughts and clear vision which can lead the country to prosperity and success.
    IK has all that traits, and my vote and support is for him. Recommend

  • Khalid

    @PTI supporter: By virtue of this we cannot say Imran Khan is different from others. He is now part of our political system and doing same things which others do. Recommend

  • Faheem Ahmad

    Enlightened Islam? No Way, You perception is wrong there. You brought up a valid point of non-elective seats inside PTI and You think Some of them are corrupt, Fine! But Don’t you think every other Pakistani is Corrupt because our system made us so, Imran Khan has to choose a team with political exposure, and people who can Win him seats, Who knows if in future He is going to keep them in his cabinet while in power. Most of your Article is based on Assumptions, And you forgot some Facts, World-Cup 1992, Shaukhat Khanam Hospital, Collage/University in Mianwali, And many other Hospitals which He is not able to start because Govt. is not giving land for that.Recommend

  • Faris

    Today even Jamaat e Islami talking about joining with PTI. The true face of Imran Khan is being revealed. He is a mullah without a beard. Recommend

  • chaudhry

    This is intense. Thanks for the excellent research. I will definitely vote for the first time this election. Will look for a party that knows better than to associate with terrorist organizations. Recommend

  • Le Mystique

    Imran Khan’s views on reformation of the blasphemy law were similar to those of Salman Taseer’s. He also had to face a lot of criticism and ridicule of JUP (Jumaat-e-Ulama-e-Pakistan) when he condemned the murder of Salman Taseer and called Qadri a murdered. You can find evidence in support of the info I shared with you on youtube and google.
    I will let you search for these two pieces of info yourself so that you learn how to do research before assuming fallacious opinions and spreading false hollow baseless rumors.
    Thank you. Recommend

  • Javed

    “Imran Khan’s is not the politics of change. It is politics as usual”. Oh absolutely. Its amusing to note how this nation continues to fall for the same net of (political) net since this country first came into being.
    No matter who gets to be in power in the next election, be it Imran, or the usual suspects heading the various political packs in this country, absolutely nothing will change. It might sound like a bitter pill to swallow for most of the ardent IK followers, mostly hordes of angry disillusioned youth, majority of whom tend to fly off the handle once confronted with the slightest opposition of their admiration (worship!) of their Prophet of Change (IK!). I believe most of those educated young men and women should try and be a little more objective in their evaluation of what’s really going on behind the ‘waves of change’ Jazz sung endlessly by Imran & Co.
    The world is not made of gold, and neither are people living it. IK is no exception.
    Here I might be sounding like an old cynical geezer who wouldn’t want the world to believe that nothing good exists in this country, but that I ain’t. Being only 27, I am as much part of the post modern youth of this country as the rest of those falling left, right and center to Imran’s sweet lore.Recommend

  • NI

    Such a change from the mediocre rhetoric you read, thank you for giving us a thoughtful and well illustrated article.
    Don’t care for the PTI supporters when they demand alligence to the kaptaan based on their biases and naive impressions of politics.
    Like or dislike, support or don’t but at least have intelligent reasons for doing so….so enjoyed reading something beyond hype and emotion!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!Recommend