Imran, Altaf, PIA and Pakistan Politics

Posted on June 15, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, People, Politics
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Adil Najam

Flying in from London to Islamabad, I bumped into Imran Khan on the plane. There he was, sitting a couple of rows ahead of me, reading The News, with his own picture on its front page (meeting Nawaz Sharif in London). I had not yet seen the paper, nor followed that days events in London (I was flying in from Amsterdam where I had been in meetings all day). We exchanged a few pleasantries, said nice things about what we had been up to since we had last met in Chicago just about a year ago (I had reported in detail on that here).

I must say, I did not fully grasp everything he said until later after I landed in Islamabad and first saw his supporters and TV cameras lined up at the airport, and then every news channel covering his press conference in London, and its political implications. In our short conversation he pretty much covered the exact same points I saw him presenting on TV,with pretty much the same passion. I guess he had come fresh from the press conference. Since all of that is now in the news already, I will not repeat it. The one thing I did ask him about were rumors about his ‘patch up’ with the MQM leading to the lifting of the ban on his entry into Sindh. Readers would remember those rumors surfacing everywhere, including on ATP, a few days ago. He shrugged those away as nonsense and just rumors.

My own sense from this very brief discussion chat was that:

(a) he does seem very serious abut taking on MQM Chief Altaf Hussain,
(b) that he fully realizes the seriousness of what he is doing, and
(c) he seems to be doing this out of personal conviction much more than political opportunism.

I may turn out to be wrong, but my first impression was that the earnestness with which he spoke about what he was doing and why that cannot be easily faked. This, then, seems not to be a story that will fizzle away easily. Not if Imran can help it.

If this is, in fact, so then Pakistan politics will continue to become even more interesting than it already is. ‘Party’ politics may just come back into limelight, but not ways one had expected. If indeed there are to be elections in Pakistan soon then the impact of this tussle could go well beyond defining what happens to just Imran Khan and the MQM.

By the way, as it turned out it was an interesting PIA fight to be on. Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao boarded soon after me. As did Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan (returning, I believe from the WTO meeting in Geneva). They both greeted Imran graciously, and briefly, and then then nearly all of us made the best of the overnight flight by going off to sleep. Of course, I first watched the ‘Tribute to a Legend’ show on Pakistani filmstar Muhammad Ali on the PIA channel.

P.S. In case you wonder, no, I did not speak to either of the Ministers. I do not know either of them, and would not have known what to say anyhow, especially if either of them had seen my own most recent musings on the political happenings in Pakistan.

115 responses to “Imran, Altaf, PIA and Pakistan Politics”

  1. Ghalib says:

    I find it amazing when people talk about imrans morality!!!!the sita white case!they take it as it is effecting pakistan!but the scounderers like Ishrat ul ibaad who is the prime suspect in Hakeem Saeed case,went on asylum in UK,is now the Governor of sind!!!talk abt morality!accepting a daughter outta wedlock is a bad thing,but how it effects pakistan!i rememeber the time when people critised him of marrying jemimma khan!then it was a yahudi sazish!!!
    Altaf Hussian is a terrorist!hes in UK and being used by intelligence for keeping down Jamat and PPP support in KHI,he will never come to Pakistan!army has cases against him!its a fact,even Mush paid a visit to this scounderer in UK!the same man who in India called “the partition the biggest blunder “and now ask nay one people like Sattar farooq he will say that is “Altaf bhias personal view” What the hell!!!!!that is personal when it comes to statements and its Pakistan when he does a telephonic speech in khi! One thing has come out good after 12 May is that people of karachi have seen their party!many in mqm are leaving them!
    Of Imran Khan,the best he did is he is fighting this man,even if he brings this skunk to gallows or outta Uk to Pak!Godwilling,it will be his biggest achievement!forget PMship even if he dun win a seat!ill call him a Patriotic Pakistani!his patriotism is evident that he has jumped in politics when he has everything! everything!u name it aand he has it!but he just carries pakistani citizenship!and lives in pakistan!and strolls the streets and built a hospital,and is now buolding a Uni in mianwali!
    What did army do with Bhutto? he was accused of sharab!today Mush drinks!but what corruption charges were agaianst bhutto? NONE that is y his party is the biggest party in pakistan!coz he had a principle!and never ran away from situation!
    PS: not a TI or PPP independent neutral view…

  2. Rafiq Aslam says:

    Thank you for this first hand report. I also sense that this tyime Imran is more serious about this. Whether he wins in election or not does not matter as long as he persirts on this issue.

  3. Sohail says:

    The interview is another sign of the media and intelligentia taking Imran and his team very seriously. PTI needs all the good people it can get. This is the time…….

  4. Ayaz Khan says:

    Dear All,

    If we contemplate the state of Pakistani politics we will find that honest and sincere people can be counted on fingertips. I have no doubt in my mind that Imran Khan in one such person. Infact I am convinced in my mind that after Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Pakistan has once again been blessed with a leader with vision. A man who can lead Pakistan to the pinnacle of glory.

    Imran has shown enormous courage in taking the fight to an organisation known to be terrorist. MQM , a creation of ISI has grown into a monster and now educated urdu speaking people are begining to keep a distance from it. A fascist party with fascist tactics is ruling Karachi using terror. Imran is the first one to speak out against them and now slowly others have started to follow but still with muted voice. We have to support Imran for the sake of Pakistan, we have to support Imran for the sake of sanity, we have to suuport Imran for the sake of truth. Maybe this is the begining of the end for Altaf and that will be a welcome day for Pakistan.

    Lets support Imran fully, he is a leader in the making. MQMs disgusting effort to bring his personal life into disrepute hardly hold any water as Imran has always said that he is not a saint. But look at his political career. It shows he is incorruptible , ethical , visionary and has been blessed with the capability of leadership. I pray for the long life of Imran and his success.

  5. Dear all,

    first of all, imran khan who has the courage doesnot belongs to fuedals, establishment and thats why lack support. Who says in Pakistan votes mean public opinion?

    In our land of pure, its ‘baradri, chaudri, wadera, khan, or heavily armed persons’ influence approx 90% of votes given to these educated parlimentarians. Do you people expect that in such environment, Imran Khan party will get fair votes???

    Apart from that, for rulers, we should remember law of nature

    ‘ Arooj kay baad zawal lazmi ata hai’

    God Bless PAKISTAN

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