The juiciest bits of the Assange-Imran Khan interview

Imran Khan must be rubbing his hands with glee since the dismissal of the Pakistani Prime Minister by the Supreme Court. In an interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the former cricketer and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf would like us to believe that he is next in line in the power struggle in Pakistan and if he does get power, one of the first changes might be the country's relationship with the US.

On Pakistan's political scenario:

Imran Khan believes his political rallies are changing the political scenario in Pakistan and are working in his favour and will bring him to power. However, even he can't predict when it will happen.

"Now, since the big rallies, the whole political scene has changed. We have seen now politicians rushing to me. So people who are electables, realising that the vote bank now belongs to me, they are coming to join me," he said.

The former cricketer seems to fancy himself as the next Prime Minister of Pakistan. Reuters

And what about Pervez Musharraf? "Well his whole idea of politics is on the Facebook," Khan dismisses him saying that the former Pakistani president doesn't understand the situation on the ground since he's outside the country.

According to Khan, the political establishment is scared of him since he has managed to gather enough support last seen 40 years ago during the time of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

"And when that… these sort of numbers turned out he swept the election, he just swept… and he was an underdog and all the status quo parties were blown away so that’s why they’ve all got scared," he said.

On India

Even Imran Khan, who is accused sometimes of not being the well versed in politics, says that coalitions always result in forming weak governments that force even honest leaders to look the other way when it comes to corruption.

"You see, Julian, in India they have two problems. Number one is that it’s such a big country and there’s so many political parties and they need coalitions to form government. When you have coalitions, um, I’m afraid you are always going to be a weak government – if there are corrupt people in the coalitions you’ve just got to look the other way if you want to form government," he said, adding that the final power in India rested with Sonia Gandhi and not Manmohan Singh.

On Osama bin Laden

According to Khan, the former head of the terror group al Qaeda was being harboured in Pakistan by the government's  agencies which were not able to accept the sudden change in his status from an asset fighting the Russians in Afghanistan to a terrorist after the 9/11 terror strikes.

"I think there were always going to be elements within the secret agencies who would not have accepted this. It’s possible that he was being harboured by people within the agencies," Khan said.

On the war on terror

The PTI leader believes that the only way in which the US can win the 'war on terror' is  by winning hearts and minds. Khan believes that Pakistani society is more polarised than ever before and says that the US is likely to leave Afghanistan in far worse condition than when it entered the country.

"We have more fear of militants today than ever before; 140,000 Pakistani soldiers are stuck on our western borders along with Afghanistan, er – the situation is not that we are winning the war, our Army’s stuck there – and the Army Chief told us politicians in a briefing that the moment they withdraw the militants will come back. So I don’t know what we’ll gain out of this," Khan said.

He said that the only  solution was to hold elections in Afghanistan, form a credible government there and start a political dialogue that could help the US exit the country.

On relations with US

Pakistan should have a relationship of the sort that India shares with the US and should have one that is based on dignity and self respect and not that of a hired gun that is paid to kill enemies, Khan said, adding that the relationship between the two countries has failed.

"The Americans are very unhappy with the Pakistan government because they haven’t delivered, and they can’t deliver. So, the time has come… either the US should have a relationship like it has with India based on dignity/self-respect," he said.

Khan said that the country should not accept any more aid from the US and stand on their own feet and not allow any interference from the US in their domestic affairs.

Read the complete interview with Imran Khan here.


Published Date: Jun 20, 2012 03:21 pm | Updated Date: Jun 20, 2012 03:22 pm