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Wrath of Khan
Imran Khan Changes Tack

Known as Taliban Khan by his detractors, Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, has been the most vocal supporter of dialogue between the state and the Taliban to end an insurgency that has so far cost upwards of 50,000 lives. His insistence on negotiations has made him look desperate and weak as the Taliban continue to wreak havoc across the country, killing 40 people in separate bomb attacks over this weekend alone.

No wonder his rhetoric has changed. Discarding his conspiratorial comments alluding to “external forces” and “foreign hands” in the wake of terror attacks, he is focusing more on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s dithering on the issue. Since Sharif’s tenure began in May last year, he still hasn’t released the comprehensive national security policy that he promised. Discourse regarding Pakistan’s militancy problem has lurched from a full-scale military operation to Khan’s suggestion that the Taliban should open an office. Unsurprisingly, both seem to be happening simultaneously as the powerful Pakistani military launches more military offensives, while the Interior Minister announces that the government is ready for talks.

Rather than choose a side, Khan has identified the lack of accord between the civil and military camps and has begun to rightly criticize Sharif for not sticking to either. His recent commitment to tackling Pakistan’s polio crisis head-on—a sticking point for the Taliban—also won him new supporters.

It’s a difficult learning curve in the most difficult of countries. But Imran Khan appears to be maturing.

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  • Andrew Allison

    Seems more like sail-trimming to me.

    • rheddles

      That’s tacky.

      • Andrew Allison


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