Why Imran Khan is Called Taliban Khan by Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)


Have you ever wondered why the Imran Khan, the PM of Pakistan is called Taliban Khan? 

Well the answers are there in all the cartoons drawn by Pakistanis. However  if pictures have not conveyed the truth, read the excerpts from articles written by Pakistanis themselves.  Very clearly Imran Khan is made from a different metal in which Taliban is a large ingredient. More importantly, these articles implicate his role and that of Pakistan in hoisting Taliban into power in Afghanistan. 


Appeasing Butchers by Usama Khilji @


THE prime minister in a TV interview has said that the government is trying to negotiate a peace deal with the TTP wherein they will lay down arms and become “normal citizens”. He has also called recent TTP attacks on Pakistani soldiers “just a spate of attacks”.


Clearly, the life of Pakistani citizens is not worth much to the PM who has continued to advocate for negotiations with terrorist groups — Pakistani or Afghan Taliban. 

Militants deserve to be arrested, tried in court, and punished for committing crimes against the state and its citizens. The prime minister must respect the law of the land and the wounds of its citizens when solving the terrorism problem. Rule of law must be a fundamental part of any political solution to end militancy, rather than seeing only two extremes of military operations or surrender as viable options.


Terrorism wreaked havoc in Pakistan for nearly a decade, killing over 80,000 Pakistani civilians, policemen, soldiers, and children. What gives the PM the right to forgive butchers so easily?


Right and Wrong an Editorial in Dawn @


Mr Khan spoke some words about the terror outfit TTP that are problematic. He repeated once again that the Pakhtuns had turned against the state when they saw it aligning with the US in the conflict in Afghanistan as well as the drone strikes that killed a large number of innocent people. He essentially argued that TTP was a product of Pakhtun nationalism. This argument is dangerously flawed. The TTP is a terror outfit that fuels its narrative with religious aspirations instead of nationalistic ones. The prime minister should remember that Pakhtuns themselves have been the biggest victims of the TTP’s reign of terror. 


This is not the first time that the prime minister has made this erroneous argument and it is rather surprising why no one from the government is correcting him. It would be advisable for him to revisit his controversial line of thinking before going for the next interview. More rides on his words than he may imagine. The TTP’s acts of terror should not be framed in a manner that may accord it an ounce of legitimacy, especially at a time when it has yet again unleashed violence.


Pakhtuns, State and Nationalism By Syed Irfan Ashraf @


TO absolve Pakistan of its role in the fall of Kabul, Prime Minister Imran Khan is trying to sell a selective story based on two simplified themes: first, he resorts to dataism (the ideological use of data) to play the victim card at the expense of the Pakhtuns; second, he shifts the blame onto the Pakhtuns as a nation, portraying them as holy warriors by choice to achieve larger policy ends.

Khan’s address to the UNGA last month is a case in point. Of particular importance are the segments relating to the Pakhtun question. Referring to Pakistan’s joining the US-led ‘war on terror’, he said, “80,000 Pakistanis died. $150 billion were lost to our economy. There were 3.5 million internally displaced Pakistanis”. This aggregation obscures the fact that not a single IDP was non-Pakhtun. Those who died were also mostly Pakhtuns. This disproportion is true for economic losses too. Yet, de-particularising the victims is sought in order to blur victimisation.


The prime minister conflates Pakhtun nationalism with religious extremism. The people in the tribal belt, he told the UNGA, “had affinity and sympathy with the Afghan Taliban not because of their religious ideology but because of Pakhtun nationalism, which is very strong”. The theme was reiterated in his article for The Washington Post.

In a recent interview with the Middle East Eye, Khan, contextualising the TTP threat to Pakistan, said that Pakhtuns on Pakistan’s side of the Pak-Afghan border began attacking the state when it allied itself with the US that invaded Afghanistan. Handling domestic sentiments on its western border in this way has already exposed Pakhtuns to bloody militarisation. This new narrative, however, signifies an extension of the state policy: earlier, Pakhtuns were projected as fearless border soldiers defending settled Pakistanis but now they are painted as brave warriors who not only rescued Afghanistan, but will also keep it at any cost.


Clubbing together the Taliban and Pakhtun nationalism is toxic fiction with real consequences. The Taliban derive their identity from a jihadi culture sponsored by the US and nurtured by the Pakistani state in the shadow of Cold War politics. Eighty thousand jihadists, including Arabs, were trained in the Pakhtun belt before being launched to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. The Taliban — who were groomed in the madressah culture on the Pak-Afghan border with the homeless Arabs later called Al Qaeda — might speak Pashto but take pride in Arab culture. They don’t believe in a national land, a national flag or local history. They killed thousands of Pakhtuns. Yet, Khan wants to prove they are nationalists.

Although the Pakhtuns are always seen in a suspicious light in Pakistan, their death at the hand of the Taliban was because of their opposition to state-sponsored jihadi elements. Khan’s narrative to redesign Pakhtun identity by replacing it with jihadi ideology shows that the state will continue weaponising Pakhtun culture beyond Pakistan’s border, which is a dangerous plan meant to further expose the country’s underbelly to extremism and militarisation.


The prime minister has got more on his plate than he can digest. Reducing the loss of Pakhtuns to collateral damage (aggregate data) and distorting history by rebranding terrorism as a reactionary and regional Pakhtun phenomenon is an act of using cultural space for military extension beyond the border, a form of adventurism that will lead Pakistan towards further isolation.


Talking to the TTP By Fahid Hussain @


PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan says the government is holding negotiations with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) aimed at persuading its fighters to lay down arms and reintegrate into society as peaceful and law-abiding citizens. Does he have the right to do so?


So when PM Khan tells Ali Mustafa of Turkish news channel TRT in his interview, which airs today, that Pakistan is indeed holding talks with the TTP in Afghanistan, he is finally confirming in no uncertain terms similar broad hints dropped earlier by President Arif Alvi and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. If the PM then is not unveiling any national security secrets, and if he is not violating the mandate of the office he holds, and if he is not taking a step that has never been taken before — speaking with the enemy, that is — then should the nation really be concerned?


Here’s why: TTP has not waged a bloody war just against the government, but against Pakistani society. In this bloodletting, no place was spared — office, school, mosque, shrine, and bazaar; and no one was spared — officers, politicians, women, old men, children and toddlers. The wounds run deep. They are raw, yet. Time heals, but not so fast. 

Forgive those who bathed this society in blood? The momentous decision cannot be taken behind closed doors by shadowy figures armed with a rationale that has not been nourished by public opinion. The real issue here is not whether Pakistan should accord such forgiveness to the TTP — no ladies and gentlemen, not at all — the real issue is whether the government has the moral right to do so without hearing what the people of Pakistan have to say about it.


On a different note, the face-off between Imran Khan and Bajwa is hogging the headlines in Pakistan on the issue of appointment of the ISI head. What has now come out is that following the meeting,  the notification regarding appointment of new chief of the country’s premier spy agency would be issued in two to three days. It is also said that Imran Khan would take interview of the probable candidates. Funny. Interview of candidates after the posting has been issued! Here is a poser. If Imran Khan selects a different candidate , he will be sacked. If he concurs with the posting issued by the Army , he will be a rubber stamp. That is Taliban Khan for you.


On yet another note. The difference in opinion between the military and civil government of Pakistan is about the appointment of the head of ISI. It is not about the others! What has emerged is that the Army is free to post and promote who it wants and where it wants without government approval. Wonder what is the protocol for the Navy and Air Force? Does the COAS clear their posting also? That indicates the real seat of power  in the militarised state of Pakistan is the COAS. Well , on an another note. In India , the prerogative of every posting and promotion of Maj Gen and above rests with the Government. Thank god for that.  


3 responses to “Why Imran Khan is Called Taliban Khan by Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)”

  1. It is a very troubled neighborhood for us. And it has dangerous portent. I wonder how this will all pan out !!

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