Imran Khan: new trouble man for US in Pakistan–>Hamid Mir,TheNews

by Hamid Mir

Source : http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=75416&Cat=2

ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan is no more a cricketer turned politician. He has suddenly become an important regional player in the US endgame in Afghanistan.

A mind-blowing public rally of Imran Khan in Lahore on October 30 made it very difficult for the Zardari regime to give new commitments or accept any demands from the US to push its decade-long war against terror. Imran Khan has not only become a threat for traditional political parties inside Pakistan but is also going to become a big hurdle in the implementation of demands made by US during the recent visit of Hillary Clinton to Islamabad.

The PTI leader criticised not only President Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif but also blasted US policies in the biggest-ever show of political power in Lahore in the past 25 years. The last time Lahore saw this kind of political tsunami was on April 10, 1986 when late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned after many years in exile. A big reception to the daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was a bombshell for the then military dictator. Benazir Bhutto addressed a big rally in Iqbal Park, adjacent to the historical Lahore Fort. That rally was the beginning of General Zia’s end.

The October 30 rally by Imran Khan in the same Iqbal Park also looked like an end of pro-US policies started by General Pervez Musharraf ten years ago. Imran addressed US Secretary of State as “Chachi Clinton” (Aunty Clinton) and said a big no to any more army operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas. It will now be impossible for the ruling Pakistan People’s Party and its coalition partners to start new operations in North Waziristan or even continue the old operations from South Waziristan to Khyber Agency.  Elections are close and no political government can take the risk of going against public opinion.

Hillary Clinton is these days desperately looking for someone who can become a bridge between Afghan Taliban and the US. Imran Khan can make some serious efforts in this regard but is more focused on the situation inside Pakistan. He has offered his services for the engagement of Pakistani Taliban but wants assurances that there will be no more military operations.

Imran said all this just one day before the meeting of President Asif Ali Zardari with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Istanbul. The US has arranged this meeting through Turkish President Abdullah Gull for the success of the Istanbul conference. Army Chief General Kayani also left for Turkey on Monday. Afghan officials will discuss the US endgame with Pakistan, India, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan, UAE, Turkey, US and UK in Istanbul Conference from November 1.

The US wants some commitments from Pakistan at this conference and that is why the Pakistani Army Chief is also invited to this conference. However, Imran Khan’s massive anti-American rally has made it very difficult for Pakistani leaders to oblige their friends from Saudi Arabia and Turkey who have became part of the process on the US request.

Imran criticised the Army operations in the tribal areas in very strong words. He clearly said some tribal elders had given him assurances that if US drone attacks were stopped and the Pakistan Army halted operations in the tribal areas they would control all militants. Imran Khan also arranged meetings of these tribal elders (mostly from North Waziristan) with his ex-wife Jemima Khan who is making a documentary against drone attacks.

Jemima and Imran are separated but often meet because of their two sons. An American lawyer Clive Smith is also helping Jemima and they are planning a big campaign against drone attacks in the Western media. Jemima writes for Vanity Fair magazine. She is helping not only Imran but also Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, and Assange may also speak at the inauguration of documentary against drone attacks. The documentary is expected to have a lot of “WikiLeaks”. Imran Khan has repeatedly said, “Pakistan has changed”. He threatened, “I will not spare anyone who gave Pakistani bases to US and sold my people for dollars”.

Without naming Pervez Musharraf he sent him a message not to come back to Pakistan. He also said: “We want friendly relations with every country but we cannot accept slavery of America”. Imran Khan came out openly in support of the Kashmiris and advised India to withdraw its troops from Kashmir.

He tried to satisfy the central Punjab voters who are not happy with the soft stance of Zardari and Nawaz Sharif on India. This hawkish stance will definitely bring him closer to the military establishment but he opposes military action in Balochistan. He also criticised the role of Pakistan Army in former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in his recently published book “Pakistan a Personal History”.

According to the sources in Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) more than a dozen ambassadors from different Western countries wanted to see Imran Khan this week but he left for China immediately after addressing the mammoth public rally in Lahore on Sunday night. He will be a guest of the Chinese government. His opponents often declared him “Taliban Khan” or the “modern face of Jamat-i-Islami” but hundreds of thousands of people enjoyed the songs of many popular singers in the Lahore rally. For some critics it became a grand musical show but the fact is that the crowd enjoyed the music at a public place after a very long time. Pakistan has many popular pop singers but they cannot sing at public places due to fear of suicide bombings that started in 2007. There was a suicide attack on the musical show of Sono Nagam sometime back in Karachi and after that many pop singers were threatened not to sing at public places. Many singers like Adnan Sami, Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar tried their luck in India in recent years but now they can come back.

Imran Khan is bringing back not only the political activities on the roads but also encouraging many pop singers like Shehzad Roy to sing publicly who made songs against drone attacks. Roy presented his famous song ‘uth bandh kamar kya darta hey phir dekh Khuda kya karta hey” in the Sunday rally. Thousands of youngsters were dancing on this song and Imran was clapping with them.

Imran Khan is becoming the voice of the common Pakistanis who are neither religious extremists not secular fascists. He is becoming a ray of hope for those disgruntled youngsters who have started hating democracy due to bad governance and corruption. These youngsters can now bring about a change in Pakistan through their vote power. Youth is the real power of Imran Khan and this youth belongs to the lower middle, middle class. This is the most disillusioned class in Pakistan but now the youth of this class is becoming active, which is a positive sign.

Dozens of sitting parliamentarians are contacting Imran Khan for joining his PTI. Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and many political big shots will make some shocking decisions soon but Imran is more interested in young blood and well-educated minds.

He warned the government on Sunday that all politicians must declare their assets inside and outside Pakistan within a few months failing which his party would launch a civil disobedience movement and block all major cities with public support. For many analysts he is emerging as the third option after Zardaris’s PPP and Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N.

Some say he will ruin Nawaz Sharif in the central Punjab and PPP would be the ultimate beneficiary. Imran does not agree with this analysis. He always criticises PPP and PML-N jointly because one is ruling at the centre and the other is ruling Punjab, which is more than 60 percent of Pakistan. Imran has definitely proved that he enjoys more political support in Lahore than Nawaz Sharif but it does not mean that he is going to get clear majority in the coming elections. He needs some winning horses not only in the central Punjab but also in south Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and Sindh.

He needs big rallies in Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta and then he can make some bigger claims. He will definitely make dents not only in the vote bank of PML-N but will also damage the PPP badly. There are 25 seats of national assembly in Lahore division of which PML-N has 20, PPP has 3 and PML-Q has one. Imran may snatch at least half of the PML-N and all the seats won by PPP and PML-Q in Lahore. Out of 23 seats in Gujranwala division PML-N has 13, PPP 8 and PML-Q has 2. Imran will damage PPP and PML-Q more than PML-N in Gujranwala. There are 20 seats in Faisalabad division – PML-N has only 4 while PML-Q has 8 and PPP has 7 seats.

Many sitting members of the national assembly from Faisalabad are pleading to Imran to accept them in his party. Some PPP, PML-Q and ANP members from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are also in contact with Imran, which means that his popularity is not confined to Punjab.

His biggest stronghold in the north is the tribal area where he is expected to make a clean sweep and more than 10 seats are in his pocket. This is the same area where he will not allow government to start any new Army operations.

If there is no operation then what will be the future of Pakistan-US relations? Zardari regime is at the crossroads. There is US pressure from one side and the PTI pressure from the other.

Nawaz Sharif was trying to play safe by targeting only Zardari and not the US but Imran Khan has suddenly changed the political dynamics in Pakistan. He is the new trouble man for US and also for the pro-US political elite in Pakistan. All the popular parties have no option other than to follow his anti-Americanism.

Hillary Clinton needs to realise the wave of change in Pakistani politics. She cannot understand this change without engaging Imran Khan. October 30 was just a beginning. World will see more changes on the political map of Pakistan and Imran Khan will play a leading role.

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Imran vows to take drone issue to ICJ –>The News

Mumtaz Alvi

Source : http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=9925&Cat=13

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday said his party would take the issue of drone attacks to the International Court of Justice and appreciated the resolve of the founder of a UK-based legal action charity, Reprieve, to knock on the doors of international courts against such strikes.

He said war was too serious a matter to be left to the generals, while a grand Jirga from Waziristan, through a unanimous resolution, called upon Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take note of the drone attacks and hold an independent and transparent probe into the matter.

The Jirga was co-organised by Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights to raise awareness about the drone assaults and firm up a line of action on how to halt them. The Jirga demanded of the Pakistani military to stop its operation in Waziristan and said the tribal people were capable of tackling the menace of militancy on their own.

The largely-attended forum urged the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy on Extra Judicial Killings Christof Heyns to help halt the US hegemony, mass killings of tribal people and undermining of Pakistan’s sovereignty by drone attacks.

Various participants cautioned that after failing in Afghanistan, the US was looking for an excuse to attack Pakistan. Speakers heaped praise on Reprieve founder Clive Stafford Smith, as well as on Shahazad Akbar of the Foundation of Human Rights for their endeavours to legally fight the drones’ issue and highlight it at different forums. Jemima Khan, the ex-wife of PTI chief Imran Khan, also attended the Jirga session.

Imran Khan, during his speech here at a local hotel, quoted France’s ex-prime minister Georges Clemenceau and said war was too serious a matter to be left to the generals. He said generals were handling the tribal areas’ policy with the civilian puppet government having no say at all.

Imran said the situation was no different in the US where generals, such as Petraeus, handled the Afghan policy and had no plan-B. The PTI chief said the anti-terrorism war was adding to the number of militants and intensifying militancy, and those who lost their relatives looked for revenge, either becoming militants or supporting the militancy.

Later, Imran addressed a rally of his party here at the D-Chowk near parliament and said every minute of the National Assembly proceedings consumed Rs66,000 but its members could not get a unanimous resolution against the drone strikes implemented.

Imran said it was a matter of shame that sessions of the lower house of parliament were costing the national exchequer so much but in return legislators had failed to come up to the nation’s expectations.

Amid chants of ‘shame, shame’, the PTI chief said the APC resolution had clearly said that if the US did not stop drones, the Nato supply would be blocked. “Did the MNAs do so? Instead, drones continue to hit Fata,” he said.

He called President Asif Ali Zardari ‘Sadar Zardari, Bari Bemari’ and said: “We have no hopes in him, since he is a beneficiary of the NRO, which has bound him to silently support drones and remain loyal to the US”.

Similarly, Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, whom he called the Dengue Brothers, have also disappointed everyone, Imran said. He asked why they were holding a public meeting in Lahore whereas Zardari was sitting in Islamabad.

PTI workers warmly welcomed Clive Smith, when Imran invited him to express his views on the matter. “What we need is your support and a pat on the back to take forward the issue. We need evidence,” he remarked.

Clive Smith said: “We will be going to the US, France, Germany and other European countries to raise the issue”. He described drone attacks on Waziristan as a criminal offence.

Earlier, the rally participants endorsed the resolution, adopted by the Waziristan Grand Jirga, by raising their hands. The Jirga’s resolution confirmed that US spy agency CIA was responsible for the drone attacks in Pakistan and such strikes were being carried out by CIA agents sitting in Pakistan and abroad, which was a flagrant violation of the country’s laws as well as international laws.

The proceedings were bumpy, as at one point, Kamran Khan, an MNA from Fata, and a tribal elder, Khan Marjan, exchanged hot words (mostly in Pashto), accusing each other of being non-serious about drones.

The images of collateral damage caused so far by drone strikes were shown on a projector and saddened the audience. Mutilated bodies of children and elderly people were painful for the viewers who watched with disbelief.

The resolution noted that Fata, particularly the North and South Waziristan Agencies, were part of Pakistan and its inhabitants were Pakistani citizens under Article 1 of the Constitution. However, the state and its institutions had failed to safeguard the fundamental human rights there such as the right to live. It also noted that attacks were mostly inflicted during late night so that the tribal people could remain in grip of fear and insecurity.

The resolution confirmed that drone assaults were mostly carried out on residential areas and homes, resulting into the deaths of innocent women and children.

APP adds: Addressing the rally, Imran Khan condemned what he called the ‘criminal silence’ of non-government organisations (NGOs) on drones that claimed to be champions of human rights. He asked the government to quit if it could not take action in this regard and said civilian casualties because of the drones were increasing with each passing day.

He said the judiciary was independent, but some people were a major hurdle in the way of the implementation of the Supreme Court’s decisions. He demanded the implementation of the resolution adopted in the recently-held All Parties Conference. “After coming into power, the PTI will introduce an economic system that will protect the rights of consumers and investors, and will convince foreigners to invest in Pakistan,” he added.

Imran says Musharraf rule going despite US involvement

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan on Monday said that President Musharraf’s rule cannot be safeguarded and prolonged despite US involvement. 

In a telephonic conversation with Central Deputy Secretary Information Chaudhry Iftikhar Ahmed, Imran Kahn condemned the mistreatment of women and children in Lahore during a protest demonstration and said that people of this country can not be bullied down before dictatorship and would fight for democracy. 

He lauded the students of Punjab University as they came out on the roads after his detention. Our struggle is not against any party but against the enemies of the country who are perpetuating dictatorial actions in the garb of democracy, he pointed out. 

Political vendetta and victimization of media and lawyers are the glaring examples that the rulers are on verge of collapse, he mentioned.

Jemima Joins Protests against Musharraf and Martial Law(Emergency)

 Jemima Khan, ex-wife of Imran Khan, joined hands with people who were protesting outside the Pakistan High Commission to press their demand for the release of all political detainees in Pakistan.
Jemima who extended help to start the ‘Free Pakistan’ Movement, a group made up largely of lawyers, journalists, doctors and professionals, stood at the heart of the demonstration and said that she was doing it because Imran and her Pakistani friends asked “us to make a noise here because they are not able to do it there.”
Jemima’s youngest son was holding a picture of his father Imran with the words “Release Imran. Release my Aba”,media reports.
According to the daily, Jemima received a message from Imran that he was thinking of Sulaiman, 11, on his birthday.
Also there are rumors in Pakistan Regarding torture on Imran Khan in Jail by Musharraf’s Security Forces.