Image source: Insaf.pk
Known for his mass public campaign against the U.S. drone strikes on Taliban hideouts, rising Pakistani politician Imran Khan is currently visiting the U.S. for fundraising events organized by the U.S. branch of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
According to the official PTI website, Khan will address a fundraising dinner at the Soundview Studios in New York City on October 26, 2012. The event will be broadcast live worldwide and is expected to be viewed by Pakistani diaspora and people in Pakistan.
Imran Khan is a globally celebrated cricketer who captained his country's cricket team to win the 1992 World Cup, and after retirement from cricket has emerged as an immensely popular leader in Pakistan, mainly due to his anti-U.S. campaign that has sought to channel popular Pakistani public opinion against the U.S. drone attacks on Taliban hideouts. Khan also opposed the unilateral U.S. unilateral raid that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011, arguing that the U.S. violated Pakistan's sovereignty.
Although Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is not expected to win the 2013 elections in Pakistan, which follows a parliamentary form of democracy in which the prime minister and the president are not directly elected by people, he has definitely emerged as a popular leader in Pakistan. A large section of youth and religious groups express support for Khan's PTI. With growing popularity, Khan's statements and political positions have also been examined minutely by the Pakistani media in recent years.
Excerpts are given below from Pakistani media reports, which indicate that Khan has recently sought to justify the Taliban's waging of jihad against the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan while simultaneously refusing to condemn the Taliban in Pakistan. Media reports indicate that Khan opposes the U.S. role in Pakistan to the extent of saying that Pakistan doesn't need any U.S. aid. At the same time, Khan has also sought to garner the support of rightwing Pakistani public opinion that is sympathetic to the Taliban and opposed to India and the United States. In the statements given below, Khan also alleges that the Jewish/Israeli lobby in America controls the global media and is working to undermine Pakistan's nuclear program.
Pakistani Newspaper Report: Imran Khan Says "War In Afghanistan Is Jihad"
In October 2012, after visiting Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani girl attacked by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for her advocacy of girls' education and opposition in an anonymous online diary to the Taliban's enforcement of Islamic shari'a in Pakistan's Swat district in early 2009, Imran Khan justified the waging of jihad in Afghanistan. Following are excerpts from an October 11, 2012 media report titled "War in Afghanistan is jihad, says Imran":
"Terming the ongoing war in Afghanistan a 'jihad,' Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan parried a question... whether the war in Pakistan's tribal belt could be labelled as terrorism. He was addressing a press conference in Peshawar after paying a visit to inquire after the health of Malala Yousafzai.
"The PTI chief condemned the attack on Malala, saying attacking children was against the teachings of Islam and Pashtun traditions, and offered every possible help to Malala's family. Imran added that there was a need to investigate the motivations of various Taliban factions operating in the country, adding that the decision to carry out a military operation in Waziristan in 2004 and the Lal Masjid episode [i.e. 2007 military operation against militants in Islamabad] were 'the main reasons' behind the violence across the country.
"[He said:] 'In the guise of the Taliban, there are several criminal gangs who didn't even spare PTI workers by demanding extortion money.' The PTI chief said that 'drone attacks are carried out with the consent of the government, and in reaction, Taliban attack civilians."'
According to a video of his statement made at the press conference in Peshawar, Imran Khan said: "Jihad is a very simple thing. When I wage a war for my freedom, it is jihad. It's averse of the Koran; it's straight clear. [When] one fights for his freedom, it's jihad. Those who are fighting in Afghanistan against foreign occupation, it's jihad."
Afghan Websites: Afghan Government, Lawmakers Condemn Khan's Jihad Comment
According to an Afghan website, "The Afghan government has strongly condemned... Imran Khan for calling the ongoing war in Afghanistan against foreign troops 'jihad.' Farhad Azimi, Deputy Secretary of the Afghan Parliament... said, 'This is clear interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs. We urge the Pakistani government to arrest people who support the Taliban'....
"Hamid Zazai, managing director of Mediothek, an Afghan-German NGO... said, 'The war in Afghanistan is not jihad. This is a war by terrorists against Afghanistan, its people and the entire international community.' He alleged that Khan is receiving support from the Taliban, and that by making such statements, he is just 'paving the way for stronger Taliban support than what he is enjoying now.'"
According to a report on the Afghan website Tolonews.com: "Afghan lawmakers ... slammed the recent statement made by former Pakistani cricketer and politician Imran Khan that the war in Afghanistan was Jihad or Islamic 'holy war.' The lawmakers said that such statements incense people against the Afghan government and foreign forces and ignite more instability in the country.
"'Imran Khan was pro-American in the past, but now he's following the ideas of ISI [Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence known for supporting the Taliban],' Badakhshan MP Fawzia Koofi said. Daikundi MP Asadullah Sahadati said that Khan was not the only one making these statements. 'Several Pakistani organs are making propaganda against Afghanistan,' he said."
In TV Interview, Imran Khan Justifies Taliban's 2009 Enforcement Of Shari'a Rule In Swat, States: "When People Talk Of Shari'a, What Is That Shari'a? The Common People, Who Are Pakistani, They All Want Shari'a"
In an interview with television host Dr. Shahid Masood, Imran Khan answered a range of questions about his protest movement against the U.S. drone attacks and the anti-Taliban military operations as well as the 2009 enforcement of Islamic shari'a rule by the Taliban in Pakistan's Swat district. He observed:
"Peace will return only if the people stand with you. They [i.e. the government] ruined everything by sending troops to the tribal region [to fight against the Taliban militants], and the extremist who was on the margin has become the mainstream... The second aspect is that there is a fear, that shari'a [rule] has arrived. Our so-called liberal class is afraid that shari'a has arrived; one doesn't [know] what would happen; hands will be chopped off [as punishments by the Taliban]. Shari'a is what makes us human... Shari'a brings justice and humanity in society; it's the name of a welfare state....
"Look at Allah's blessing that a liberal alliance [the governments of secular Pakistan People's Party in Islamabad and of secular Awami Nationalist Party] have brought shari'a [referring to shari'a-for-peace deal agreed between the government and the Taliban that led to enforcement of shari'a rule in Swat district against which Malala Yousafzai spoke]....
"[Justifying the shari'a rule in Swat district] Look how wrong is [the late U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard] Holbrooke's statement that shari'a rule will be very bad. Now, tell me, will they teach us which Islam to follow?... When people talk of shari'a, what is that shari'a? The common people, who are Pakistani, they all want shari'a...."
In another interview, Khan stated: "It is shameful that we call ourselves Muslims and fear shari'a; what is shari'a? Shari'a is the path of the Prophet [Muhammad] peace be upon him. If you are a Muslim, you want to follow shari'a."
Khan On Pakistani Government: "Who Is Benefiting From This War [Against Terrorism]?"; "Have You [i.e. Pakistani Government] Given Them [i.e. Americans] Permission To Kill Our Own People?"
In June 2011, following an anti-U.S. protest meeting, Imran Khan was interviewed on the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Pakistani government's role in the U.S.-led war against terrorism, as well as recent attacks on the headquarters of Pakistan Army and Pakistan Navy by jihadist forces inside the military. Following are some excerpts from his June 16, 2011 interview:
"Who is benefiting from this war [against terror]? The tiny elite. This sit-in [a protest meeting organized by Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party] was directed at the government. It was telling them: 'Tell us the truth.' What is the real truth? Have you given them [i.e. Americans] the permission to kill our own people?
"Secondly, it was directed towards the Americans – that the violation [e.g. killing of Osama bin Laden] of some country's sovereignty is against the United Nations charter. They are violating their own humanitarian laws. In the United States, all humanitarian laws are against anyone becoming judge, jury, and executioner....
"The attack on the naval headquarters [in Karachi on May 22, 2011] has shaken Pakistan. It has shaken Pakistan because there is a realization that if we keep on the path we are going, we could have mutiny in the army. Because, this was clearly an inside job. Clearly, people from within the navy or the air force were involved in this attack."
"Over 80% Of The Pakistanis Think That The U.S. Is An Enemy; Why...? Because They Think That The U.S. Is Not Fighting A War Against Terror; It's A War Against Islam"
"I have been warning against this for a while, because according to all the polls taken in Pakistan, all the surveys, over 80% of the Pakistanis think that the U.S. is an enemy. Why do they think of them as an enemy? Because they think that the U.S. is not fighting a war against terror. It's a war against Islam.
"So, if 80% of the population thinks like that, then if you take it to the army, surely 80% of the armed personnel would also be thinking like that. That is why it is very dangerous – because so far, the attacks on [former Pakistani military ruler] General Musharraf both were from within the army. The attack on the headquarters ... [of Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi on October 10, 2009] – that was an inside job. Fifty of our commandos were blown up in the base – an inside job. There have been a lot of people caught, within the army, and then whisked away, and they disappeared, because they were thought to be involved in some sort of subversion or mutiny...
"Now if we keep going on this course which we have taken, it is so dangerous for Pakistan. It is dangerous for Pakistan because if anything happens within the army, the country is in real trouble, because that is the only thing that is holding the country together right now.
"Here is the U.S., and people in the West, saying that Pakistan could be destabilized, that Pakistan's nuclear assets could fall into the wrong hands, and yet they are doing so far in Pakistan, by asking us... pushing us to do more now, sending our troops, forcing us to go into North Waziristan [to fight against the Taliban], is actually destabilizing the country. All the actions are leading to a scenario where it could possibly happen – that the country could be so destabilized that the nuclear weapons could all into the wrong hands...."
"If... [The Pakistani Government] Is Perceived To Be A Stooge Of America – Taking Dollars To Be A Hired Gun For The Americans, Then All We Are Doing Is Fanning Extremism, And This Is A Never-Ending War Which Will Destroy Pakistan"
"May 2nd [the date of Osama bin Laden's assassination] took us all by shock. It was the biggest shock because here was Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan – the number one shock. Number two – he was not in the tribal areas of the wild areas, and actually in a city. Number three – we heard that the Pakistan government, army, or intelligence agencies provided the intelligence. Yet they didn't finish the job. The Americans came and killed him....
"There are so many question marks about Osama bin Laden: Was he there? What was he doing there? Who kept him there? How did he avoid detection? How did the Americans find out? Why didn't the Pakistanis know about it? And so on....
"The feeling in Pakistan is that we have a ruling elite that to fill its own pockets, rather than conducting reforms, which the country badly needs, rather than spending money on education, on human development, fighting corruption, setting up institutions, rule of law...
"What they are doing is taking a shortcut, taking money from the U.S., pretending to be this people who are fighting Islamic radicalism – the word used is 'bulwark' against terrorism and Islamic extremism... They basically want the situation to continue just so the aid keeps coming, benefiting them, while the country sinks. They make a lot of money.
"So people feel that the time has come for a change. Say 'no' to aid. We do not want this aid. It is destroying our country. We want to stand on our own feet, be a sovereign country, and take responsibility for whatever happens within our borders. We should be... A sovereign, credible, democratic government should be responsible for all terrorism from its soil. But it can only do that if it is sovereign. If it is perceived to be a stooge of America – taking dollars to be a hired gun for the Americans, then all we are doing is fanning extremism, and this is a never-ending war which will destroy Pakistan...."
In Interview, Khan Tells U.S.: "We Will Fight This War Our Own Way; We Don't Want Interference; We Don't Want Your Money; We Don't Want Your Aid"
In another interview, Imran Khan also opposed the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a unilateral U.S. military raid in Pakistan in May 2011, arguing that the U.S., being an ally, should have respected Pakistan's sovereignty. Following are excerpts from the interview:
"I am a Pakistani citizen. My country has given 34,000 people dead in a war we had nothing to do with; $70 billion lost to the economy when the total [U.S.] aid has been $20 billion. How would I feel that my ally who we are fighting for doesn't trust us, instead comes and conducts the operation itself [to kill Osama bin Laden without informing Pakistan]; should it not have told our government; either it is an ally or it's not an ally....
"First of all, this myth being spun that 4-5,000 Haqqani Taliban is the reason why the U.S. is not succeeding in Afghanistan; 140,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, greatest military machine in history, is not succeeding because of these four or five thousand fighters that are supposed to be holed up in North Waziristan [tribal district of Pakistan] does not make sense....
"Are we Pakistanis not allowed to criticize American policy...? [Commenting on the U.S.'s right to self-defense] But does the Pakistani government also have not any semblance of sovereignty in our country...? They are fighting this war on terror, which is why 34,000 people have died; can they not fight it their own way....?
"[Asked about UK Prime Minister David Cameron expressing concern over Pakistan's double-sided role in the war on terror] God, if I was the prime minister of Pakistan, I would have immediately told them [the U.S. and UK] that look, we will fight this war our own way; we don't want interference; we don't want your money; we don't want your aid. Look, it doesn't mean cut in the relationships with the Americans.... Pakistan has lost $70 billion... this is published by our own, current government; total aid is $20 billion; this aid is destroying us."
According to another television interview, Khan stated that Pakistani "people feel that the time has come for a change. Say 'no' to aid. We do not want this aid. It is destroying our country. We want to stand on our own feet, be a sovereign country, and take responsibility for whatever happens within our borders. We should be... A sovereign, credible, democratic government should be responsible for all terrorism from its soil. But it can only do that if it is sovereign. If it is perceived to be a stooge of America – taking dollars to be a hired gun for the Americans, then all we are doing is fanning extremism, and this is a never-ending war which will destroy Pakistan."
Pakistani Media Reports: Khan's Rise Supported By Pakistan's ISI; Opposition Leader Nawaz Sharif Gives "A Go-Ahead To Party Leaders To 'Expose The Games Of The Military Establishment' – And Particularly To Criticize" The ISI
Imran Khan addressing a political rally in Lahore (Roznama Jang, October 31, 2011)
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Following a hugely successful political rally organized by Imran Khan in Lahore on October 30, 2011, political leaders alleged that the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which has been known to be supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, is behind the sudden rise of Imran Khan in Pakistani politics. Following are excerpts from a Pakistani television program:
"The frantic political stir created by the up-and-coming Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has provoked opposing reactions on Saturday [November 12] from the two heavyweight parties of the country, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). While [then] Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani calmly shrugged off talk of there being any threat to his party from the PTI’s monumental rise, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan [of PML-N] was more frantic – alleging that there was a concerted effort to undermine the PML-N, using parties such as the PTI, and saying he had evidence to support this claim.
"Though it had been fluid for a while, the political landscape was shaken by the PTI’s mammoth October 30 rally... in Lahore, the seat of power in Punjab, long considered the bastion of the PML-N's power. Even before the Lahore rally, with PTI's major political activity taking place in urban Punjab constituencies, analysts and observers concluded that the rise of Imran Khan's PTI would hurt the PML-N the most.
"The Lahore rally seemed to drive this point home emphatically for the PML-N, which has since then been in a huddle, planning what to do. PML-N’s President Nawaz Sharif on Saturday [November 12] held a meeting of the party's senior leaders in... Lahore where he also presided over a meeting of party workers from Faisalabad division.
"According to senior party member privy to the discussions at the meeting, Sharif has given a go-ahead to party leaders to 'expose the games of military establishment' and particularly to criticize the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The PML-N's think tank last month had decided that this offensive would be launched if the [military-led] establishment did not cease and desist from interfering in the country's political dynamics – and that those ISI officials allegedly involved in this practice would be 'exposed'...."
Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Says He "Would Demand That the Prime Minister Call The Army Chief [Gen. Kayani] To The Floor Of The National Assembly To Clarify The Establishment's Position"
"Chaudhry Nisar, in a typically fiery press conference, said he would present evidence of the military establishment’s sponsoring and promotion of PTI's Lahore rally. He warned that if the ISI did not mend its ways the PML-N would take 'direct action' either on the floor of the house, in the courts or through the media. 'I have detailed documents of funding and ample evidence of the management the ISI extended in making the PTI's rally successful,' Nisar said...."
"Asked why he did not approach Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani with the allegations, Nisar replied that he had approached the general a number of times to control the role of ISI in politics. Kayani, he said, never responded to the pleas. He did add that he told the army chief that the ISI's role under Kayani had remained 'excellent' for the first two years – but that this role had become dubious once again.
"[In answer] to a query, Nisar said that since Kayani would not listen to him, he would demand that the prime minister call the army chief to the floor of the National Assembly to clarify the establishment's position in the making and breaking of political parties.
"He said that the ISI was being used for petty politics despite the Pakistan military being under immense foreign pressure.... He said that Imran Khan had been in politics for 15 years, yet those that have joined him in recent days have strong linkages with the establishment. He added that 90% of those joining the PTI are from a party created by former President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, that is, the PML-Q...."
Report: "[Former ISI Chief] Hamid Gul... Began Working On A New Plan For The Future Leadership Of The Country; He Chose Three Prominent Pakistanis... Imran Khan Agreed to Take A Political Role"
Following are excerpts from a Pakistani media report examining how former ISI chief Hamid Gul has supported a plan to install Imran Khan in power:
"Imran Khan captained the winning Pakistani cricket team in the 1992 World Cup in Australia and returned to Pakistan a national hero. He then pursued the cause of establishing a free cancer hospital in memory of his deceased mother Shaukat Khanum, who died of cancer.
"At the same time, Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul retired from the Pakistan Army and began working on a new plan for the future leadership of the country. He chose three prominent Pakistanis; namely, former governor, renowned social worker and reformer Hakim Mohammad Saeed, the social worker and philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, and Imran Khan. Saeed refused to take part in politics, and was gunned down in front of his clinic in 1998. Edhi left Pakistan in the mid 1990s, alleging that Pakistani intelligence was trying to force him into politics. Imran Khan agreed to take a political role.
"The transformation of an Oxford University political sciences graduate seen as a sex symbol in the West into a politician who penned articles in leading Urdu newspapers against the Western lifestyle and Westernized thinking in Pakistan stunned many.
"After the October 12, 1999 military coup [by General Musharraf], Khan jumped on Musharraf's bandwagon but by 2003 he had distanced himself from the president. The military establishment continued to engage him. However, Khan has remained a major campaigner against the Pakistan military's oppression of Islamic forces. Even in 2009, as all Pakistani politicians including Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group [of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif] supported military operations in Swat, he insisted that they could only breed militancy...."
Khan In Interview: "The Jewish Lobby... Controls The Global Media"; "There Is A Very Big Lobby In America... That's Basically The Israeli Lobby; It Wants The Pakistani Nuclear Program Rolled Back"
Interviewed on Pakistan's Aaj TV, Khan said that the Jews control the global media:
"[Asked about the decline in Pakistani media coverage for his political activities in Pakistan, he said:] "The problem is that our competition is with two governments: the central government on the one side and the provincial government in Punjab. They have massive funds for advertisements [to give to pliable newspapers and television channels].... Advertisements play a big part and because of it, a small minority, the Jewish lobby, which controls the global media..."
Asked to explain the U.S.'s dominant agenda in Pakistan by a television host on Dawn News television this year, Khan stated:
"There is a very big lobby in America, and it's a very powerful lobby, and that's basically the Israeli lobby. It wants the Pakistani nuclear program rolled back. When they use the word 'secure', it basically means roll back.
"Actually, it is their dominant agenda that is coming to the fore; they are consistent about it. And that lobby is very powerful. The one which is trying to get an attack launched on Iran, the same lobby is after the nuclear program of Pakistan and it is the Israeli lobby."
Khan On India's Westernizing Generation: "I Am Strongly Opposed To What Is Happening In India [i.e. Indians Imitating The West]; Because, They Have Become A Desi Bitch With A Western Bark"
India, with a fast-growing economy, has emerged as a major U.S. ally in recent years. People in India are also adopting Western lifestyle, which is also reflected in their pro-West outlook on economy, politics and cinema. In a television interview, Imran Khan offered disparaging comments about Indians, observing:
"I am strongly opposed to what is happening in India [i.e. Indians imitating the West in lifestyle, economy and cinema]. Because, they have become a desi [indigenous/Islamic] bitch with a Western bark. In other words, they are Indians, but they are trying become Western. A crow trying to walk like a swan [i.e. making a fool of oneself, or trying to become something you are not]. They can never be Western; no matter how much they try, they will remain Indian.
"But in their films, in their advertising, lifestyles are Western. But they are Western. Their people are brown, but those who act on television, their color is white; they do not represent people; their people speak one language, they speak a different language. Their habits, saying hi, come from America, which is an imported culture, divorced from their own culture. Unfortunately, in the name of progressive thought, we are bringing the same in Pakistan; we are acting the same habits in Pakistan."
Reviewer Of Khan's Autobiography: Imran Khan "Liked The Defiance Of [Zulfiqar Ali] Bhutto, Who Had Committed Pakistan To A Thousand-Year War With India"
In a review of Imran Khan's autobiography "Pakistan: A Personal History," noted Pakistani commentator Khaled Ahmed observed:
"Following the completion of his A-levels in 1972 from Aitchison College Lahore, Imran went to Oxford (p.57). He already liked the defiance of [former Pakistani leader Zulfiqar Ali] Bhutto who had committed Pakistan to a thousand-year war with India at the UN. But Bhutto fell early enough because of his embedded flaw of a feudal mind (p.40). Memory inclined him to abhor what he calls the brown sahibs of Pakistan whom he first saw in Lahore Gymkhana where 'Pakistanis pretended to be English and danced to Western music on a Saturday night' (p.43). Gora sahib British had embedded an inferiority complex amongst the natives with great care (p.45).
"He loved cricketers who refused to kowtow: 'Sir Vivian Richards from the West and Sunil Gavaskar of India were both examples of sportsmen who wanted to assert their equality on the cricket field against their former colonial masters' (p.64). British Raj had romanced the Pathan highlander even as he fought him, admiring his defiance. As captain of the Pakistan team, Imran got on well with Gen. Ziaul Haq, although 'his political use of Islam was aimed more at capturing the mood of the time' (p.69). He thought Islamization was mere outward observance and remained untouched by it. (Later, Captain Inzimamul Haq would preside over a crudely demonstrative religiosity that left the team empty of all ethic. Today, after Talibanization, even Miandad says he used to do wuzu [ablution] before going in to bat.)
"Imran imbibed a strong sense of personal destiny. He recalls: 'Pir Gi [Sufi mystic] from Sahiwal said I would be very famous and make my mother a household name' (p.89). Imran had announced his first retirement when he met another clairvoyant: 'Baba Chala lived in a little village just a few miles from the Indian border. He certainly had not heard bout [sic] my retirement... the man looked at me and said I had not left my profession.... It is the will of Allah; you are still in the game' (p.93).
"But the man who stood by him as his spiritual mentor was Mian Bashir (d.2005) who shocked him by naming the Quranic ayat [Koranic verse] his mother used to read to baby Imran and predicted that Allah had turned the tables in his favor in the Lamb-Botham libel suit whose reparations would have pauperized Imran (p.189). Mian Bashir also disarmed a sceptical Jemima [the British heiress] by accurately guessing her three secret wishes (p.120)."
Imran Khan "Is Aware Of The 'Born Again' Label And Resists It... He Is More Firmly Moored In [The Teachings Of Islamist Poet] Allama Iqbal... But He May Ultimately Be More Like Sayyed Qutb"
"Imran married Jemima in 1995, but the marriage was on the rocks soon enough. He is graceful in his expression of sincere regret at what happened: 'The six months leading up to our divorce and the six months after made up the hardest year of my life' (p.214). If the book is a personal narrative, Jemima probably deserved more space. She was of far greater personal worth than he realizes, although he is appropriately grateful that his two wonderful sons are growing up with her in England, away from the violent dystopia of Pakistan.
"Jemima and Princess Diana were both good for Imran and his cancer hospital. His icons looked for the 'autonomous woman' in their dedicated lives. [Pakistan's Islamist national poet] Allama Iqbal had his Atiya Fyzee and [Pakistan's founder M. A.] Jinnah his Ruttie. Inspirational, predestined Imran had his 'rational' Jemima? He discusses his premarital 'hedonism' and calls it 'a mirage': 'The hurt I caused and the feeling of emptiness I experienced in transitory relationships far outweighed the moments of pleasure' (p.91).
"He is aware of the 'born again' label and resists it, even recalling Fazal Mehmood, the playboy fast bowler of Pakistan, who went heavily religious after retirement from cricket. He is more firmly moored in [the teachings of Islamist poet] Allama Iqbal.... From his sense of predestination comes his risk-taking character. But he says: 'The difference between a good leader and a bad one is that the former takes huge risks while fully grasping the consequences of failure. Leaders of a country shaping policies out of fear of losing power have always proves to be disastrous. Great leaders always have the ability to resist pressure and make policies according to their vision, rather than fear' (p.113).
"A most falsifying aspect of leadership is its condition of being a public good. Imran has read his Allama Iqbal and [Iranian writer] Ali Shariati, but he may ultimately be more like Sayyed Qutb [the ideologue whose ideas are espoused by Al-Qaeda], too reactive, too much a politician of extremes...."
Khan In Article: "[In My Youth] I Considered... Islam An Outdated Religion; Philosophers [Honored In The West Were] Like Darwin Who... Supposedly Disproved The Creation Of Men And Hence Religion"
In an article titled "Selective Islam," Imran Khan explained his early Westernized upbringing and how he began embracing Islam after the Salman Rushdie issue emanating from Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa. Following are excerpts from an article by Khan:
"My generation grew up at a time when colonial hang-up was at its peak. Our older generation had been slaves and had a huge inferiority complex vis-à-vis the British. The school I went to was similar to all elite schools in Pakistan; despite becoming independent, they were, and still are, producing replicas of [English] public school boys rather than Pakistanis. I read Shakespeare, which was fine, but no Allama Iqbal [the Islamist national poet of Pakistan].
"The Islamic class was not considered to be serious; when I left school, I was considered amongst the elite of the country because I could speak English and wore Western clothes. Despite periodically shouting 'Pakistan Zindabad' ['Long Live Pakistan'] at school functions, I considered my own culture backward and Islam an outdated religion. Amongst our group, if any one talked about religion, prayed or kept a beard he was immediately branded a Mullah [cleric]. Because of the power of the Western media, all our heroes were Western movie or pop stars.
"When I went to [the University of] Oxford, already burdened with this hang-up from my school days, things were no easier. At the university, not just Islam but all religions were considered anachronisms. Science had replaced religion, and if something couldn't be logically proved it did not exist. All supernatural stuff was confined to the movies. Philosophers [honored in the West were] like Darwin, who with his half-baked theory of evolution supposedly disproved the creation of men and hence religion.
"Moreover, European history had an awful experience with religion. The horrors committed by the Christian clergy in the name of God during the Inquisition had left a powerful impact on the Western mind. To understand why the West is so keen on secularism, one should go to places like Cordoba in Spain and see the torture apparatuses used during the Spanish Inquisition. Also, the persecution of scientists as heretics by the clergy... convinced the Europeans that all religions are regressive."
"It Was A Miracle I Did Not Become An Atheist; The Only Reason I Did Not Was The Powerful Religious Influence Wielded By My Mother"
"However, the biggest factor that drove people like me away from religion [during our youth] was the selective Islam practiced by most of its preachers. In other words, there was a huge difference between what they practiced and what they preached. Also, rather than explaining the philosophy behind the religion, there was an overemphasis on ritual.
"I feel that humans are different to animals; whereas the latter can be drilled, humans need to be intellectually convinced. That is why the Koran constantly appeals to reason. The worst, of course, was the exploitation of Islam for political gains by various individuals or groups. Hence, it was a miracle I did not become an atheist.
"The only reason I did not [become an atheist] was the powerful religious influence wielded by my mother on me since my childhood. It was not so much out of conviction but out of love for her that I remained a Muslim. However, my Islam was selective, that is, I accepted only parts of the religion that suited me. Prayers were restricted to Eid days and occasionally on Fridays, when my father insisted on taking me with him [to mosque]. If there was a God I was not sure about it, and certainly felt that He did not interfere with my life."
"The Inferiority Complex That My Generation Had Inherited Gradually Disappeared As I Developed Into a World-Class Athlete"
"All in all, I was smoothly moving to becoming a Pukka Brown [Pakistani] Sahib [i.e. a Pakistani in blood but like a colonial-era British official in taste and clothing]. After all I had the right credentials in terms of the right school, university and above all, acceptability in the English aristocracy, something that our brown [Pakistani] sahibs would give their lives for. So what led me to lota [i.e. repudiating the West] on the Brown Sahib culture and instead becoming a desi? Well, it did not just happen overnight.
"Firstly, the inferiority complex that my generation had inherited gradually disappeared, as I developed into a world class athlete [as a cricketer]. Secondly, I had the unique position of living between two cultures. I began to see the advantages and the disadvantages of both the societies. In Western societies, institutions were strong while in our country they were collapsing.
"However, there was an area where we were and still are superior, and that is our family life. I used to notice the loneliness of the old-age pensioners at Hove Cricket ground (during my Sussex years). Imagine sending your parents to old peoples' homes! Even the children there never had the sort of love and warmth that we grew up with here. They completely miss out on the security blanket that a joint family system provides."
"While Science Can Answer A Lot Of Questions... Two Questions It Will Never Be Able To Answer: One, What Is The Purpose Of Existence; And Two, What Happens To Us When We Die?"
"However, [I] began to realize that the biggest loss to the Western society and that in trying to free itself from the oppression of the clergy, they had removed both God and religion from their lives. While science can answer a lot of questions, no matter how much it progresses, two questions it will never be able to answer: One, what is the purpose of the existence; and two, what happens to us when we die?
"It is this vacuum that I felt created materialistic and hedonistic culture. If this is the only life then one must make hay while the sun shines and in order to do so one needs money. Such a culture is bound to cause psychological problems in a human being, as there is going to be an imbalance between the body and the soul.
"Consequently, in the U.S., which has shown the greatest materialistic progress and also gives its citizens the greatest human rights, almost 60 percent of the population consults psychiatrists. Yet, amazingly in modern psychology, there is no study of the human soul. Sweden and Switzerland, which provide the most welfare to their citizens, also have the highest suicide rates; hence, man is not necessarily content with material wellbeing; he needs something more. Since all morality has its roots in religion, once religion was removed, immorality has progressively escalated since the 70s. The direct impact of it is on the family life.
"In the UK, the divorce rate is 60 percent, while it is estimated that over 35 percent of mothers are single mothers. The crime rate is rising in almost all Western societies, but the most disturbing fact is the alarming increase in racism. While science always tries to prove the inequality of man (recent survey showing the American black to be genetically less intelligent than whites) it is only religion which preaches the equality of man. Between '91 and '97, it was estimated that total immigration into Europe was around 520,000, and there were racially motivated attacks all over, especially in Britain, France and Germany."
"The More I Understood The Game [Of Cricket], The More I Began To Realize That What I Considered To Be Chance Was, In Fact, The Will of Allah"; "But It Was Not Until Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses That My Understanding Of Islam Began To Develop"
"In Pakistan during the Afghan war [of the 1980s], we had over four million [Afghan] refugees, and despite the people being so much poorer here and in the NWFP [North West Frontier Province, now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa], they suffered a considerable loss in their standard of living as a result of the refugees; yet there was no racial tension. It is no wonder that last year in Britain religious education was reintroduced into schools.
"There was a sequence of events in the 80s that moved me towards God. As the Koran says: 'There are signs for people of understanding.' One of them was cricket. As I was a student of the game, the more I understood the game, the more I began to realize that what I considered to be chance was, in fact, the will of Allah, the pattern which became clearer with time. But it was not until [the publication of] Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses that my understanding of Islam began to develop.
"People like me who were living in the Western world bore the brunt of anti-Islam prejudice that followed the Muslim reaction to the book. We were left with two choices: fight or flight. Since I felt strongly that the attacks on Islam were unfair, I decided to fight.
"It was then I realized that I was not equipped to do so as my knowledge of Islam was inadequate. Hence I started my research and for me a period of my greatest enlightenment. I read scholars like Ali Shariati, Mohammad Asad, Iqbal, Gai Eaton, plus of course, a study of the Holy Koran."
"Since This Is A Transitory World Where We Prepare For The Eternal One, I Broke Out Of The Self-Imposed Prisons"
"I will try to explain as concisely as is possible, what 'discovering the truth' meant for me. When the believers are addressed in the Koran, it always says, 'Those who believe and do good deeds.' In other words, a Muslim has dual function: one towards God and the other towards fellow human beings. The greatest impact of believing in God for me meant that I lost all fear of human beings. The Koran liberates man from man when it says that life and death and respect and humiliation are God's jurisdiction, so we do not have to bow before other human beings. As [Pakistan's national poet] Iqbal puts it:
"Wo aik Sajda jisay tu giran samajhta hai,
Hazaar sajdon say deta hai aadmi ko nijaat.
[The bowing before Allah that you so despise;
Frees you from bowing down before man millions of times]
"Moreover, since this is a transitory world where we prepare for the eternal one, I broke out of the self-imposed prisons, such as growing old (such a curse in the Western world, as a result of which plastic surgeons are having a field day), materialism, ego, what people say, and so on. It is important to note that one does not eliminate the earthly desires, simply that instead of being controlled by them, one controls them.
"By following the second part of believing in Islam, I have become a better human being. Rather than being self-centered and living for the self, I feel that because the Almighty gave so much to me, in turn I must use that blessing to help the less privileged. By following the fundamentals of Islam rather than becoming a Kalashnikov-wielding fanatic I have become a tolerant and a giving human being who feels compassion for the underprivileged."
"Only Now Do I Understand The True Meaning Of Islam: If You Submit To The Will Of Allah, You Have Inner Peace... In Pakistan We Have Selective Islam"
"Instead of attributing success to myself, I know it is because of God's will; hence [I prefer] humility instead of arrogance. Also, instead of the snobbish Brown Sahib attitude towards our masses, I believe in egalitarianism and strongly feel against the injustice done to the weak in our society; according to the Quran, 'Oppression is worse than killing.'
"In fact only now do I understand the true meaning of Islam, if you submit to the will of Allah, you have inner peace. Through my faith, I have discovered strength within me that I never knew existed and that has released my potential in life: My education program that I intend to announce... is far more ambitious than the cancer hospital project.
"I feel that in Pakistan we have selective Islam. Just believing in God and going through the rituals is not enough; one also has to be a good human being. I feel there are certain Western countries with far more Islamic traits than us, especially in the way they protect the rights of their citizens, or for that matter their justice system. In fact some of the finest individuals I know live there.
"What I dislike about them [the Western nations] is their double standard in the way they protect the rights of their citizens yet consider citizens of other countries as being somehow inferior to them as human being, e.g. dumping toxic waste in the Third World, advertising cigarettes that are not allowed in the West, and selling drugs that are banned in the West."
"The [Westernized] Group On Whom The Greatest Proportion[s] Of Our Educational Resources Are Spent In... [Pakistan] Must Study Islam Properly"
"One of the problems facing Pakistan is the polarization of two reactionary groups. On the one side is the Westernized group that looks upon Islam through Western eyes and has inadequate knowledge about the subject. It reacts to anyone trying to impose Islam in the society and wants only a selective part of the religion.
"On the other extreme is the group that reacts to this Westernized elite and, in trying to become a defender of the faith, takes up such intolerant and self-righteous attitudes that are repugnant to the spirit of Islam.
"What needs to be done is to somehow start a dialogue between the two extremes. In order for this to happen, the group on whom the greatest proportion of our educational resources are spent in this country must study Islam properly. Whether they become practicing Muslims or believe in God is entirely a personal choice, as the Koran tells us that there is 'no compulsion in religion.'
"However, they must arm themselves with knowledge as a weapon to fight extremism. Turning up their noses at extremism is not going to solve the problem."
"At The Moment, The Worst Advertisement[s] For Islam Are The Muslim Countries With Their Selective Islam – Especially Where The Religion Is Used To Deprive People of Their Rights"
"The Koran calls Muslims 'the middle nation,' i.e. not of extremes. The Holy Prophet [Muhammad] (PBUH) was told to simply give the message and not worry whether people converted or not; therefore, there is no question in Islam of forcing your opinions on anyone else. Moreover, we are told to respect other religions, their places of worship and their prophets. It should be noted that... Muslim missionaries or armies never went to Malaysia or Indonesia. The people converted to Islam due to the high principles and impeccable character of the Muslim traders.
"At the moment, the worst advertisement[s] for Islam are the Muslim countries with their selective Islam, especially where the religion is used to deprive people of their rights. In fact, a society that obeys fundamentals of Islam has to be a liberal one.
"If our Westernized class started to study Islam, not only would it be able to help our society fight sectarianism and extremism, but it will also make them realize what a progressive religion Islam is. They will also be able to help the Western world by articulating Islamic concepts....
"Prince Charles [stated that he] accepted that the Western world can learn from Islam in his speech at the Oxford Union. But how can this happen if the group that is in to best position to project Islam gets its attitudes from the West and considers Islam backward? Islam is a universal religion and that is why our Prophet (PBUH) was called a mercy for all mankind."
 The Express Tribune (Pakistan), October 11, 2012.
 Khaama.com (Afghanistan), October 13, 2012.
 Tolonews.com (Afghanistan), October 15, 2012.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH0XOTXmXK0&feature=related, June 25, 2011.
 http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/0/0/0/0/0/343/3022, June 16, 2011.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPmGn6-haWA&feature=relmfu, December 14, 2011.