Imran Khan, head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), wears a turban while addressing his supporters in Musa Khel, in the province of Punjab on Oct. 6, 2012. (SAAD ARSALAN/REUTERS)
In two recent articles, Imran Khan has been exposed as both a Taliban apologist and as a cowardly liar. In the following article in the Toronto Sun, the reader gets to see another version of an important incident that has largely been obscured by our so-called “independent” corporate media of Pakistan
As Khan strutted towards the departure gates and approached U.S. Immigration, an officer asked him the customary questions about the purpose of his trip to the United States.
His answers were noted and he was given back his passport and told to proceed. In the meantime, behind a one-way mirror overlooking the immigration booths, U.S. Homeland Security officials were tracking Khan’s movement, as they already knew he was going to enter the U.S. after his visit to Canada. Instead of creating a scene at passport control, they allowed Khan and his entourage to board the aircraft and only when all the passengers were seated, did they go in and haul him back.
This time it wasn’t a young Pakistani student journalist asking the questions; it was no-nonsense officials of a U.S. and Canada task force, including representatives from Homeland Security. An official who observed the interrogation process told me Khan sat timidly with his head lowered and hands clasped while he received a “dressing down” about potentially violating the limitations of his visitor’s visa to the U.S.
He said there was no talk about Khan’s opposition to U.S. attack drones, as the politician later claimed after the fact. My source, tells me the real concern was that Khan had told passport control he was coming to the U.S. to visit family and friends, without specifying his planned fundraising and political activities.
(Deputy U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Hoagland, later tweeted about the incident, as cited by Pakistan’s International News , saying Khan’s detention had: “Nothing to do with drones — he brought it up.”)
Stuck in detention, Khan requested help from the Pakistani government to intervene and calls were made to the U.S. State Department. Khan was then asked to give assurances that he would not use his visa for political purposes, to which he promptly agreed and was allowed to go on his way. Apparently, he’s not as tough with Homeland Security officials as he is with young journalists.
Instead of the tough questions that needed to be as to why Imran Khan was hauled off a US bound flight for questioning, DAWN News and another private channel engaged in a typical soft ball interview with Imran Khan.
For Imran Khan to allegedly be questioned for mis-declaration of cash raises a number of highly pertainent questions:
- Why was Imran Khan allegedly carrying donation money in the form of cash on his person or with the help of his team in the first place?
- He has often claimed that local groups help him with the fund raising. PTI is a US registered company. However, there is also evidence of a rift between PTI Canada and PTI as was reported in The Nation. If, as it is emerging that Imran Khan did not declare the excess of $10,000 USD carried by him and his team, where did this money come from?
- If this money came from donations, why was it not deposited by the local PTI chapter and officially remitted to Pakistan via legal channels? If the rift between PTI Canada and PTI is based on lack of trust, then this allegation becomes even more serious.
- Until a year and a half ago even those who were disappointed with Imran Khan’s Taliban apologist views trusted his charitable works. LUBP raised some pertainent questions that had not been asked before and that need to be re-emphasized in light of this recent embarrassing episode concerning Imran Khan. For instance:
- What does it say about a politician who uses his charity work to bolster his weak political credentials
- Worse, what does it say about a politician who uses charity as a pretext to collect funds for his flagging political prospects?
- And worse still, what does it say about a politician who chides the Government for taking US aid for crucial development projects but himself carries a begging bowl to US and Canadian citizens to fund his hollow anti-West doctrine.
- The most important question with regards to this growing scandal is whether Imran Khan is using his charity and political activities as a front to channel funds to extremist groups in Pakistan. Imran Khan is clearly sympathetic to Takfiri Salafist-Deobandi groups and does his best to deflect and obfuscate their crimes against Humanity.
Given that Imran Khan was likely carrying funds in excess of $10,000 USD for him to he hauled for questioning, isn’t there a possibility that he might have been transferring this undeclared wealth to extremist fronts in Pakistan. Given that such a transfer would be off the books and difficult to trace, it is all the more imperative that serious questions are asked about Imran Khan’s fund raising efforts.
Anas Abbas’s excellent expose on Imran Khan in the DAWN blogs section has asked this pertainent question and deserves a separate post. Pakistan’s mainstream corporate media needs to look into this – an unlikely possibility given their largely pro-Taliban and pro PCO Judiciary bias. A young Canadian reporter was bullied by Imran Khan’s entourage for asking a very pertainent question on Ahmedi muslim, Hindu and LGBT rights. He should have realized that the arrogant Taliban Khan is not used to such questions from Pakistan’s corporate media.
The Pakistani media is an alternate universe where the overwhelmingly Jamaati anchors and hacks suck up to religious fanatics, conspiracy theorists, self-glorifying ex-civil military public servants and pro Taliban chauvinist politicians and their toadies. In this media of selective morality and highly questionable journalistic ethics, PPP bashing is the favourite past time. One cannot expect such a media do its job and seriously investigate why Imran Khan was actually stopped by US security officials. They could start by quesinning his flimsy excuse that he was stopped because of his stance on drones.