Home > India, India-Pakistan Relations, Media, Oil, Pax Americana, Politics > Can Imran Khan Win the Coming Election in Pakistan?

Can Imran Khan Win the Coming Election in Pakistan?

Four years ago, it may have seemed even silly to talk of Imran Khan as a political force in Pakistan? Any different now?

Between Imran and the Mullah, who will win?|  Cartoon by Zahoor on December 12, 2008; dailytimes.com.pk  |  Click for image.

Between Imran and the Mullah, who will win?| Cartoon by Zahoor on December 12, 2008; dailytimes.com.pk | Click for image.

Silly notions

Four years ago, when Imran Khan was was a non-starter in Pakistani politics, it seemed foolish to talk about him seriously.

Especially when it came to India-Pakistan relations.

Like this small video excerpt (below, with transcript) from Julian Assange-Imran Khan interview shows, Imran is not wet behind his ears.

And Indian Foreign Policy management now has at least one more admirer.

Imran Khan has got me thinking …

But still …

What can a retired cricketer do? What role could he have? Does he have the intellectual depth? Would the five Pakistan’s accept him?

Death threats

Why is it that there no death threats to Imran Khan?A google search revealed none. Though the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital he established, was blown up.

Is he too small a target? Completely irrelevant, is he? Is it that he is big only outside Pakistan – but is a nothing in Pakistan? Is he a English-language media creation? Maybe the death threats have not trickled down to India? Or google? Was his Karachi rally, which attracted crowds in tens-of-thousands, more of money-and-organization than people power?

But, I am curious … this is nagging me.

Even Jemima Khan, his ex-wife, now in London got threats.

Factions in Pakistan

What do the five Pakistan’s think of him?

Many think that Imran Khan has no ideas. For instance,

his strategy for dealing with the Taliban and other Islamic militants has led to charges that he is soft on extremists. His plan is to order the Army to withdraw from the unruly tribal areas and start a dialogue with the militants. To him the war in Afghanistan and on the Pakistan border conforms to “Einstein’s definition of madness: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result … The Pakistan Army is killing its own people. It’s the most shameful period in our history. We created militants through collateral damage, and we are creating more militants through collateral damage. It’s a ruling elite which sold its soul for dollars.” (via Imran Khan May Become Pakistan’s Next Prime Minister – The Daily Beast).

Among the competing groups in Pakistan are, first the army and the ISI combination. Then there are the popular politicians who participate in elections. Add the third element – mullah-madrasa-mujahhid combine of fundamentalist clergy, various terrorist groups – like JeM, LeT, Al Qaida, various Taliban factions et al.

The economy and wealth is in hands of the fourth element – the 22 families that matter in Pakistan. Mahbub-ul-Haq’s “22 families” speech in Karachi in 1968 highlightedthe power and wealth of a few families in Pakistan.

And bringing up the rear, is the fifth part of Pakistan, who don’t matter.

The Rest of Pakistan.

How do they perceive Imran Khan.

Newsweek’s online edition, The Daily Beast thinks he is going to be the next PM of Pakistan? I have no idea how good the statistical model for opinion polls in Pakistan is? For whatever it is worth, he is sitting on a 68% approval rating. That should make him a shoo-in come March.

Whaddya think?

More importantly, what do Pakistanis think?

Julian Assange: How would you reconfigure the Pakistan relationship with the United States? Would it be a complete severance? What would you do? Permit them (unclear) strikes? What kind of intelligence cooperation? What would you do in practice?

Imran Khan: Eh … Have a relationship based on dignity self respect. So, it should be (thinking) … a relationship like (slight pause) … US has with India. It should not be a relationship about client-master relationship. And even worse here, (pain) Pakistan as a hired gun. Being paid to kill America’s enemies. It’s not … It is a relationship that has failed. It’s niether delivered to the people of Pakistan nor has it delivered to the Americans.

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