As much as Imran Khan’s cult (which includes obsequious retired Pakistani generals, diplomats and ‘serving’ journalists) might like to imagine that the world comes to a stop when Taliban Khan speaks on a global platform, the fact of the matter is that other than a handful of people who are Pakistan watchers, no one in the whole wide world really cares for what he says. Pakistan is at best a regional player which Madeline Albright called ‘an international migraine’ owing its possession of nuclear weapons and its involvement in Afghanistan and terrorism.
In other words, Pakistan’s USP is its nuisance value and not any positive attribute or contribution it brings to the table. Not to belabour the point, but how many people around the world wait up to hear what the president of Paraguay or Panama or Burkina Faso or Mali have to say. And yet, if the Youthias believe that the world revolves around their Great Leader, there is little anyone can do to address this disorder.
But there are also other reasons why a speech by a Pakistani Prime Minister draws a big yawn: One, anyone with any interest in Pakistan knows that the speech will be suffused with the usual rubbish that Pakistanis peddle year after year – Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Islamophobia. The style might change, the order of priority in which these things are mentioned might change, but the substance remains the same. Never anything new or fresh ever comes out of Pakistani mouths.
In a way this is understandable, given that Pakistani leaders have nothing to showcase their own country or its positive contribution to rest of the world. Second, anything that any ‘selected’ civilian, especially someone like Imran Khan, says doesn’t really matter because if there is anything of importance that has to be discussed and decided with Pakistan then it will be done by the Pakistan Army; Imran is therefore a mere show boy who is used for some old-fashioned public posturing or playing the bad-cop to the Army’s good-cop. This also works for Imran because he can play to the gallery back home and take a position which is politically popular.
True to form, Imran Khan’s speech was emblematic of his vacuity, vapidity and vituperative personality. The only point of real interest in the pre-recorded speech of Imran Khan was that he was looking rather haggard. Clearly, the Botox treatment and black hair dye isn’t working that well. What was surprising, or perhaps not, was that this time he spoke from a written script. He is notorious for shooting his mouth and in the process making a complete ass of himself and embarrassing his country in the process – ‘Germany and Japan share a border’, ‘Haqqanis’ are an Afghan tribe’, and many more such gems have come from his mouth. This time his minders – the generals from Rawalpindi and perhaps his national security advisor Moeed Yusuf – preferred to make him read from a written text so that he didn’t make another boo-boo.
Alas, this time they inflicted more embarrassment on Imran and Pakistan by making their ‘selected’ Prime Minister say that a former US President Ronald Reagan had compared the Afghan Mujahideen fighting the Soviet Union with the founding fathers of the US. Actually, Reagan had said this for the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
This proclivity of Imran Khan and his cronies to peddle ‘alternative facts’ – or if you will plain lies – at the UN is nothing new. A former Pakistani ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi cockily displayed a picture of a Syrian girl and tried to pass it off as a girl in Kashmir. Imran Khan too conjured up his own facts – most of them based on a nonsensical ‘dossier’ on alleged human rights violations in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which they manufactured a few days ago. The problem with the Pakistanis is that they peddle fake news and when no one in the world buys into the trash they are selling, they start lamenting about how the international community doesn’t care for their ‘facts’.
Take for instance Imran Khan complaining about the burial of the terrorist supported Syed Ali Geelani, the original Taliban of the subcontinent who wanted to make Kashmir an Islamic State and who defended throwing acid on young women on the streets of Kashmir. Coming from a country which surreptitiously buried a former Prime Minister – Zulfikar Bhutto – who had been hanged by a military dictator, and hastily buried a venerable Baloch leader – Akbar Bugti – who had been killed by another military dictator, it is rather rich of Imran Khan to talk about Geelani’s burial which was entirely according to Islamic rituals, albeit without the grandstanding that his family wanted to do. It would also be interesting to know of the “entire neighbourhoods and villages” that have been destroyed by the Indian security forces.
Incidentally, it is Pakistan which has adopted a scorched earth policy in the Pashtun areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where entire towns were razed to the ground by the Pakistan Army. The rest of the details on Kashmir are laughable, to say the least, including the 900,000 strong security forces. Every couple of years the Pakistanis add 100,000 to the figure. Wait for another year or two, and this figure will reach a million.
Finally, the conditions that Imran Khan has laid down for engaging India – reversing the constitutional reforms in the Union Territory and halting demographic changes – are going to be dismissed by India with the contempt they deserve. Quite frankly, there is nothing to be gained by engaging Pakistan, certainly not if it is at the cost of India’s sovereignty and security.
On Afghanistan, Imran Khan tried to push the Pakistani line that the world must now foot the bill for Pakistan’s adventurism and its victory in occupying that country through its Taliban proxies. He blamed it all on the US and virtually labelled all Pashtuns as Taliban supporters. This is when he himself enjoys the moniker of Taliban Khan, a title he earned because of his admiration for the Taliban brand of rough and ready ‘justice’ – chopping off people’s limbs, hanging people publicly, treating women like chattel and keeping them cloistered, denying them education. The man has even justified rape and molestation by blaming it on the clothes women wear. Acting as an advocate for the Taliban – quite a transition from promising to be an ambassador of Kashmir to now appointing himself as the ambassador of the Taliban – he pleaded that the Taliban must be strengthened and stabilised.
He recounted all the promises Taliban have made but forgot to mention that each of these have been flagrantly violated after the Taliban captured power – there is no inclusive government, women are being mistreated, reprisal killings are rampant, human rights violations are being reported daily, and a menagerie of terror groups is living safely in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. But still Imran wants Taliban ‘incentivised’ (read give them money) or else terrorism will once again take root. Well, guess what? Terrorism has already got a state to itself and Pakistan helped them get it. The same Pakistan now wants the world to give in to the extortion of Taliban who will otherwise spread terrorism around the region and beyond.
At the UNGA, Imran Khan tried to play the victim card and deceive the international community. But it would be surprising if the world buys the snake oil Imran Khan is selling. The fact of the matter remains that Pakistan worked towards imposing a military solution in Afghanistan using the agency of Taliban. Now when the time comes to reap the whirlwind of the evil that Pakistan has sown in Afghanistan, it wants another free ride out. Not going to happen, even less so given that Imran Khan’s speech has probably ended up riling precisely the countries whose help he and his handlers in Rawalpindi need so desperately.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Chanakya Forum. All information provided in this article including timeliness, completeness, accuracy, suitability or validity of information referenced therein, is the sole responsibility of the author. www.chanakyaforum.com does not assume any responsibility for the same.
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