One of the most fascinating figures on the international stage must be Pakistan’s Imran Khan, a charismatic former cricketer who had been leading a months-long protest against the current government. All that ended after the horror in Peshawar; the fiery Mr. Khan packed in his protests, and joined PM Nawaz Sharif in calling for national unity.Where will this protean figure turn next? TAI contributor and former intern Saim Saeed traces Khan’s many changes in a recent piece for Quartz:
[Khan] was once the biggest proponent of negotiating with the Taliban, even suggesting that they open an office in Peshawar to facilitate talks (his party quickly dissociated itself from his comments). But after the army launched a military operation against militants in June, he’s virtually dropped the subject.Now that Pakistan supports military action against the Taliban, does Khan have the wherewithal to reinvent himself again?He’s also somehow managed to forcibly block NATO supplies from going to Afghanistan in protest against drone strikes, while him and his party members visit the US frequently for fundraisers and private matters.
Most incredibly Khan has successfully transformed his image from an Oxford-educated playboy whose children live in the UK (and whose former wife is a British heiress born in a Jewish family), to an evangelical Muslim routinely spouting anti-Western rhetoric, accusing others of being “westoxified,” a term he uses to describe those under Western influence.
Do read the whole thing. Pakistan probably hasn’t seen Khan’s final act. Indeed, judging by past performances, he may have quite a few acts still to play.