From the Viewsroom

Imran Khan in his glass house

Paran Balakrishnan | Updated on September 05, 2019 Published on September 05, 2019

File photo of Imran Khan   -  Reuters

His views on peace efforts and India’s policies lack conviction

There’s a joke among veteran Pakistan hands, who say it’s the country which puts a gun to its head and says: ‘Don’t come closer or I’ll shoot myself.’ Now, Imran Khan has self-righteously raised the stakes. The gun’s been replaced by nuclear weapons. In a New York Times column, ranting about India, Khan flung a threat to the world: “If you guys don’t stop India, there might be nuclear war”. He concludes with a dramatic reference to the Munich agreement and warns that appeasement of India could lead to nuclear confrontation between the neighbours with global consequences.

We may have doubts about the government’s move to split Kashmir and the multi-week curfew imposed in its wake, but Khan throwing stones from his glasshouse is a joke. Surely, he should seek to take Pakistan’s hair-trigger blasphemy laws off the statute books before pointing fingers at India for communalism. As for his outstretched hand of peace, accompanied by charges that India’s got no intention of accepting it, let’s give credit where it’s due. On December 25, 2015, Modi made his dramatic Lahore stopover returning from Kabul. Modi and Nawaz both wanted to talk peace, but the Pakistan Army wasn’t on board. This was immediately evident when Modi was greeted at Lahore by a Pakistan Air Force guard of honour. The reward for Modi’s trip came on January 2 in the form of the Pathankot attack, putting a dampener on any Indian peace efforts.

Why is Khan suddenly so enthusiastic about peace talks? Remember the adage: ‘follow the money’. Trump has withheld payments to Pakistan for two years, and the country’s just received its first IMF loan tranche. Pakistan’s nearly broke, and needs all the financial help it can get from allies like the US. To obtain the IMF loan, they had to bring the Taliban to the table for talks with the US. Then they had to look like they were desperately trying to make peace with India. So, when Khan starts shedding crocodile tears about how India’s being nasty to Muslims, Christians and Dalits, one can’t help thinking he’s a prize hypocrite and say: ‘Give me a break!’

Paran Balakrishnan Editorial Consultant

Published on September 05, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor