“pakistan’s imran khan to leave hiding for protest” November 12, 2007Posted by KG in history, international, interviews, iraq war, news, politics, race, religion, sports, terrorism.
Tags: cricket, emergency rule, imran khan, musharraf, pakistan
excellent npr interview with imran khan (7:53)
All Things Considered, November 12, 2007 · Philanthropist, politician and former cricket superstar Imran Khan has been in hiding since Musharraf declared emergency rule.
But Khan hopes to channel the political anger of thousands of students Wednesday when he emerges from hiding to lead a student rally at Punjab University.
Khan talks with Michele Norris about the rally and his opposition to the current crackdown.
“Pakistan had a traumatic birth because the British left in such haste,” Khan says in a low and measured voice. “Most of us blamed Mountbatten. He rushed it. As a result, the Kashmiri question wasn’t resolved and there has been animosity with our neighbour India ever since.
“Another result was that the state became obsessed with its own survival. Security became the first priority. The emphasis was on armed forces. That was where the arms race began: the race to get nuclear weapons.
“And we became a client state, relying on US aid, rather than being non-aligned like India. It left us with the problem of militancy. The mujahideen, on the Pakistan border with Afghanistan, was actually trained by the CIA during the Cold War. Ronald Reagan said the mujahideen leaders reminded him of the Founding Fathers of America. Now America calls them terrorists.
“The legacy of all this is the war on terror, which many in Pakistan see as a war on Islam, that is why there is no shortage of recruits there.”
I suggest that many in the West cannot understand why Pakistan cannot hunt down the Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters hiding on its border. Khan sighs. “No one in the West understands that the tribal region of Pakistan has always been an independent entity. They have never been conquered. Every man is a warrior and carries a gun. It is the most difficult terrain. Even a superpower like the British Empire could not control that area. They had to bribe the tribes. To think that Pakistan’s army, which begs and borrows for its survival, could control it is naive.”