The new puppet show was set in motion on Pakistan’s political screen in Lahore when diverse affiliates of Pakistan’s security establishment both from right wing and fake liberals gathered at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Lahore rally and showed their full support for the establishment’s new pawn, Imran Khan. Times and again, Khan is described as a “the only clean, untried and untested politician ” for a good reason by Pakistani mainstream media.
It’s hard to escape fact that the electronic media has undoubtedly played a large part in introducing Imran Khan as a political option. The media free air time & team staffers are always available to assist/serve him.(If someone doubts then here you go this is the evidence of media’s role in promotion of fake leader).
This Kaptaan started his political inning, long ago, supporting the 7 point agenda of General Pervez Musharraf, shamelessly begging vote for General’s referendum. Now, in a new role he wants to be the master of Intelligence and security establishment. But hold on; let’s analyze first his political history & ideology which Pakistani media always miss.
The Manifesto of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf seems derived from the General’s vision & 7 point agenda style view, mainly focus on politicians corruption and their accountability. And mobilizing people on the sovereignty doctrine based on Paranoia and megalomania. His politics is purely pro establishment, while it’s true he opposed General Musharraf in his last over. But he never criticized or questioned security narratives, imbalance between the civilian and military institutions. He never talked of the judicial enquiry into the massacre of different ethnic & religious groups. He never recognizes importance of the Charter on Democracy, never appreciates any of Parliament’s efforts towards more democratization and never says a single positive thing about parliament’s landmark achievement 18th amendment. So how he can become symbol of civilian supremacy?
In this fraudulent scenario, Imran Khan’s Interview with Karan Thapar was a timely and much needed interview on the independent & less friendly TV talk show in which tough questions are asked. So, eventually his hypocrisy is exposed by the independent anchor, as when Kaptaan is in Mir, Abbasi, Malik & T Hussain’s friendly talk shows, he has another persona, which can be a bit ultra nationalist, radical and ‘Ghariat mand’ oppositional.
Kaptaan’s lies on Pakistani screen, in particular, have been voluminous, he has deliberately misled the people of Pakistan for more than 16 years, ever since he is in political ground when he asserts establishment’s lines, against the evidence, that Pakistan’s main issue is corruption/accountability of politicians and not civilians supremacy & continuity of democratic process, moreover when he ignores terrorist groups responsible for the acts of terrorism in Pakistan and presents solely Drones and US presence in Afghanistan as the cause for increased terrorist acts in Pakistan.
But in India Talk show where anchor was less friendly Kaptaan seems totally opposite. He even quickly disappointed his right wing ‘Ghariat mand’ supporters when he suggested that for Indo-Pak ties to improve, the Kashmir issue should be put on the back burner for a while.
He praised the Army for restoring peace & eliminating terrorism independently and without government’s input:
“Balochistan is being handled by the Army. The entire FATA operation is being handled by the Army. No civilian input. SWAT today is controlled by the army. Karachi, these rangers are controlling Karachi. What is this government doing?”
When Kaptaan said this he is not viewing the army as subservient to the government. It seems he has not read Constitution of Pakistan (1973) & especially its Article: 245 Functions of Armed Forces. Which states that 1[(1)] The Armed Forces shall, under the directions of the Federal Government, defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, and, subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so.
On the contrary, he blamed civilian government, president Zardari and PM Gillani for the corruption within Armed forces ranks:
Karan Thapar: One of the strongest points you make is one against corruption. The Army has a major role in Pakistan in corruption. But you don’t say a word about Army’s corruption.
Imran Khan: But whose is responsible for the Army’s corruption? The Prime Minister.
Karan Thapar: Aren’t you exonerating exculpating the Army when you say that?
Imran Khan: But under General Musharraf I was criticising the corruption.
Karan Thapar: But now?
Imran Khan: Under General Musharraf there was a GHQ being built here, I was the first one who said this is a massive corruption going on. And it actually stopped because of me. Now, this is posed to be a democratic set up. Either they should say that they are not in-charge or they should resign. If they cannot be responsible for what is going on in Pakistan, they should resign. So, anyway, to blame the Army when you have Asif Zardari and Gilani having all the perks and privileges of power. So, what are they doing there?
Karan Thapar: Alright, you are not criticising the Army because you claim this is a democratic set up, the civilians should take the blame, but the truth is that on critical issues, the generals are hobbled civilian politicians whether it is defence related matters or it is relation with America or India, the Army calls the shots. Now if you become prime minister, will you accept a subordinate status on those issues or will you seek a better balance between civilian politicians and Army General?
Imran Khan: Well the truth is also that when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the prime minister, he sacked the Army chief, he sacked the air chief. He was a genuine leader, a prime minister.
Kaptaan proves he has the pro establishment mindset & he is in politics just for recycling state’s century old narratives. He is by far the most undemocratic person I ever seen.
In non Pakistani talk show he’s contradicting his own position and held intelligence agencies responsible for Pakistan’s myriad and complex problems:
Imran Khan: I think the time has come to have a new relationship. And, I believe that you know if you can eliminate the roles of intelligence agencies, where two civilian governments can sit together and say we’ll resolve all our issues through dialogue – I think it’s a way forward because the benefits of peace are enormous.
Kaptaan keeps changing the positions to guarantee a favorable political outcome & most of his narratives not based on logic but political expediency. He does not mind talking appropriate words to suit to the audience, here on Pakistani right wing media he ignores terrorist safe havens, the headquarters of the banned or permitted organizations that espouse these extremist ideologies here & level of fundamentalism within society.
On Karan Tharpar’s show he admitted that supporting terrorist groups as strategic assets is now an outdated concept of having them as assets.
Imran Khan: Well, as a policy, if Tehreek-e-Insaaf government comes to power we will insist on there being no militant groups operating within Pakistan because the world has changed. So, the groups that were created during the Afghan jihad, now this is now an outdated concept of having them as assets. The time has come to not only remove all militant groups, disarm them but also a de-weaponisation in Pakistan because it causing massive problems within the country. So, therefore, once that issue disappears, once there are no militant groups within Pakistan, I think that issue will disappear.
On Pakistani TV Screen Imran always says he would negotiate with instead of fighting the Taliban & Taliban killing & blowing Schools are lies. He has also advised government to stop Bush’s war in Afghanistan & Pakistan by talking to Taliban leaders and ‘No peace without Taliban’.
Let’s see what he says in Karan Thapar show?
Karan Thapar: Today as we speak in Islamabad, the spokesman of the Tehrik-e-Taliban has officially said that you are the agent of West and they reject your overture. And you are attempting to negotiate with Taliban to bring them on line but they’ve rejected your overtures. So, to begin with your approach, forgive me, a kick in the teeth.
Imran Khan: Who is this spokesman of Taliban? There are about 30 taliban groups operating. My idea would not be to negotiate with any group. My idea would be to win the people of tribal areas to our side. And every poll and survey conducted in the tribal areas has said number one party is Tehrik-e-Insaaf.
The contradiction and hypocrisy of ‘Great Kaptaan’ quite visible when he was not really answering the question properly & ducked smartly most critical questions related to terrorist groups and Chief of Army staff. Here on Pakistani TV screen his theory is if you win hearts and minds of the tribal people you can win war on terror. But on Devil’s Advocate his position is different:
Imran Khan: The time has come to not only remove all militant groups, disarm them but also a de-weaponisation in Pakistan because it causing massive problems within the country. So, therefore, once that issue disappears, once there are no militant groups within Pakistan, I think that issue will disappear.
Here Kaptaan is suggesting that currently Intelligence and security establishment is not operating under civilian government & not negating that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism.
Imran Khan: Well, in your last interview I said as the Prime Minister of a country where the responsibility lies on me, so should the authority be on me. Its not going to happen that here’s me holding responsibility and some group is operating independently, whether its ISI or any other group. So the answer is ISI and the Army would be under a civilian governmental control. And if I can’t do it, I would much rather resign.
Karan Thapar: The Indian people are hearing you as you as you speak tonight. They’ve known you as a cricketer, they’ve admired you and some have even loved you. Is this a promise you’re making them?
Imran Khan: I am not only making a promise to the Indian people, I think I am making a promise to anyone. The biggest problem the United States faces, you know they worry about terrorism from Pakistani soil. Its not just India who is worried. If I cannot stop terrorism from Pakistani soil, I would rather not be the Prime Minister.
Karan Thapar: And that is a promise you’re making the Indian people tonight, here and now?
Imran Khan: To every people, not just Indian people. At the moment the Afghans are complaining, the Europeans, the Americans, everyone, any terrorism is blamed on Pakistan.
Kaptaan has never had an interview like that before & that interview will surely haunt him for a long time. He looks so confused and failed to defend his childish economic program which solely revolves around his personality, magnetism & appeal.
Karan Thapar: At the moment, 2.5 per cent of your population pay taxes. Can you take it up sufficiently and quickly enough to overcome the one trillion deficit?
Imran Khan: The reason is that none of the political leaders give taxes. All the political leaders’ wealth is lying outside. They hide their wealth, they conceive their wealth. They don’t declare their assets. They don’t give taxes. Nawaz Sharif as prime minister gave Rs 5,000 crore as income tax. He is a billionaire in dollar terms.
Karan Thapar: But how you are going to force politicians, and not just politicians, how you are going to force businessmen, professionals and all the others who don’t pay taxes. What you are going to do to make them pay taxes?
Imran Khan: Number one. Lead by example. Myself, my cabinet declare asset. We have already said that no one can control elections unless they declare their assets. And if we find any concealed assets they are disqualified. Number one, ‘benami’, means whether concealed their assets in other names, that will be outlawed. Number two. Any assets lying abroad, if they are not declared, it will be considered perjury, it will be prison sentence. So I am saying first the stick and then the carrot.
Karan Thapar: The problem is not just to make people to pay taxes, the problem is that you have the economy that is in the process of winding down if not unravelling. Your inflation is officially touching 12 per cent. Unofficially it is said it is twice or may be three times higher. Growth has fallen below 2.5 per cent. You have crippling power shortages and you have gone on record to say that you will stop US aid. How will you revive the economy? You can’t do it simply on the back of more taxes.
Imran Khan: First of all, except for the martial plan, aid has solved any country’s problem. All it does is props up crooks like our president here.
Karan Thapar: But martial plan is a great example that how aid can be properly used.
Imran Khan: But aid normally comes with strings attached. Aid normally stops you from making the reforms needed to structure your economy. What aid actually does is, it helps the crooked government and incompetent governments.
Karan Thapar: But in absence of aid, how would you revive the economy that is close to collapse, which is the true case in Pakistan?
Imran Khan: There is a one trillion rupee deficit. I guarantee you that we can collect 2 trillion rupees from Pakistanis.
Karan Thapar: How?
Imran Khan: Number one. Remove the exemptions. Because the rich has given themselves exemptions. Now just to give you an idea. Nawaz Sharif made a law where any remittances coming here were not tax free but no question asked. So that to whiten the black money. Number two. You have to give feeling to the people that their taxes are going to be spent on them. So, abolish all these symbols of extravagances, PM’s houses, President, Governor houses.
Karan Thapar: How do you abolish them, you are going to demolish them?
Imran Khan: No, make them into educational institutions. Symbolically, we need education emergency in Pakistan. We have the whole plan.
Karan Thapar: But that won’t revive the economy. It will tackle the education problem but it won’t revive the economy.
Imran Khan: No, but what it will do is, it will inspire people to pay taxes. I get the highest donations in Pakistan every year. In one month, they gave me two billion rupee for the floods. Here is the country which gives highest per capita charity but the lowest taxes. Why? Because they don’t trust the government.
Karan Thapar: Now, the point is that you are relying on the people, A be a inspire and may be you are inspirational and two, paying taxes on time and properly. Many people turnaround and say this is idealism to the point of simplicity.
Imran Khan: No. Hold on. I am idealistic, that’s number one. Remember, I am the only politician, who people trust, who people give money to.
Karan Thapar: So when Imran Khan goes to tell pay taxes, people will. That’s what you are telling me.
Imran Khan: No but you have to take a series of steps. In US, people don’t pay taxes because they are more honest. It’s a non-bailable offence. You get caught not paying taxes, you are going to jail. So you’ve to have two both. At the one stage inspire them and on the other make sure the top big fish who evade taxes go to jail.
Karan Thapar: Once again the time alone will tell whether this novel if not unique solution to Pakistan’s economic problem deliver the good.
Here’s the transcript from the interview part I:
Here’s the transcript from the interview part II: