Monday, August 25, 2014

Jalianwala Bagh re-visited under Shahbaz and Nawaz Sharif...

That was 1919 in Jalianwala bagh by a foreign occupier and this is our own people in Lahore in 2014...

(I assume you are aware of what is happening in Islamabad as of Aug. 25, 2014, now Afzal Khan one of the top government officer serving on the Election Commission has exposed the wrong doings in elections 2013. I am not writing on that. My heart bleeds when I think of the innocent people that were killed totally needlessly in Lahore in the midnight of June 17, 2014. That massacre of Lahore reminds us of Jalianwala Bagh). Current position is Ch. Nisar has made a survey and is said to have ordered a crackdown on the protesters of PAT (Dr. Quadri) and PTI (Imran Khan).

On April 13, 1919  a foreign power killed countless unarmed people under General Dyer in Amritsar. But in Lahore on June 17, 2014 it was not a foreign power but our own people placed in power with the help of a rigged election. How can you go in the mid of the night and open live fire on men, women and children whatever the excuse. Read this for a change: .

There it was Baisakhi Mela - religious festival of Sikhs and unarmed, men. women and children who were mercilessly killed and here in Lahore it was a Muslim religious gathering and again unarmed men, women and children were killed. Ah! What a tragedy by our own people liberated in 1947 - 17 killed and 95 seriously injured and we do not know how many will survive. Plus there are countless missing.

In any responsible government it was the government that would of itself take all necessary actions and saw to it that all those accused were arrested, tried and punished as soon as possible. But what happens? The government refuses to take action. Refuses to even register an FIR against the accused. Is this governance leave aloneIs good governance? They made this excuse and that.

My complain is with all political parties and the media that has not condemned this action enough and have not come out with full guns blazing against this horrible injustice with the people of Pakistan. What democracy and what derailment of democracy (a word they have learnt recently) are you talking about. If there is a least amount of any conscience left with whoever in power either do justice, give good governance or resign and go home. Now!

You don't need dharna's by Taher ul Quadri nor Imran Khan to do the basics right. People have been protesting for a long time. It is time for Nawaz to lead from the front and resign in the larger interests of the people and country even if it is not in his own.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nawaz Sharif speech... Where are the policy statements Sir?

Where are your Structural Reforms & Policy statements?

Govt. sets policies and people do...
Why is every thing in future tense please? What is the accomplishment yet Sir? You have already increased inflation since your arrival and the beasts are not even afraid to continue killing with gay abandon. Is "dafaa khayali palau na pakayen" please. Where is the money for your grandiose plans? There are many lacunas in your speech and is conspicuous by the absence of important policy statements. Speech is well written and will definitely impress the un-informed. I wouldn't call it fooling the uneducated!
There is no mention of the root cause of all problems that is the zamindari and sardari system, in English we call it feudalism. There is no mention of it at all nor any mention of land reforms for this agrarian country. There is no mention of building a strong and honest merit based Civil Service that is the framework by which good governance is done. There is no mention of Judicial Reforms that are long over due.
In short there is no mention of any Structural Reforms. It is not the job of the Prime Minister to do projects. You set in motion a policy and people do it. Policy benefits accrue to millions of people not few. You give them the right environment and then regulate properly that is being a good Prime Minister. Create an environment Sir. We are a nation of brilliant people all we need is Law and Order and a Government that understands governance has a road map in all areas and knows how to kick start an economy not run it.
I am fairly disappointed by your speech although it was nice to hear you talk at least. But when you analyse  it seems to be just a hollow promise coz you don't have the basics right and the systems around it are not in place to support it. How will you sustain them? I hope and pray that you are able to do what you promise and prove me wrong. 
I do not want to go into specifics now suffice me to say you have not addressed the power issue rightly. No that is not the route. There are better and far cheaper solutions. The transport system idea is good but let it not be just on paper. To start with revive the circular railway in Karachi that will help all. You can later or simultaneously do the metro project. Yet you are thinking laterally and you won't find the right solutions until you think vertically. Specifics later inshallah.

You have solicited our ideas for Pakistan but you have not said where and how do we communicate with you? Allama Iqbal and Quad e Azam ka Pakistan - hope it comes about. Amen.
Allama Iqbal said: 
Masjid tho bana dee shab bhar mein eeman ki hararath walon ne, 
mun apna purani paapi hai barson mein namazi bun na saka.
Listen to the speech in case you have missed.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Congrats Nawaz Sharif

Congratulations to the Third Time Prime Minister who has just taken oath...

Good luck but will you go forward or harp on the past?
While it is heartening that finally the guy has made a come back the question beckons, this time is he up to the mark? Hope he is. If the manifesto is any indication it is conspicuous by absence of important things like I did not see on his manifesto any thing to change the status-quo. There are...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pakistan should not entertain any extra-constitutional authority...

Wonder why is there sympathy for extra-constitutional authority?
Beats me for the sympathy for something that has no place in Pakistan polity and constitution. If it is the army, police or ISI or some such official organisation, yes there is constituitional provision.Whether it is Osama Binladen or The Haqqani Network or any other, where is the constitutional sanction for it while such outfits have always harmed the cause of Pakistan and Muslims of the sub-continent right up to Burma/ Myanmar.

So why do we support it? I found something interesting on the net which please read:
Why should we suffer for Afghanistan always. Oh God what has Afghanistan given us? They opposed the creation of Pakistan always and we always sided with them while they love India and want to be their satellite. We keep paying heavy price for Afghanistan.
Russia invades Afghanistan we jump in to save and do the dirty job for USand the West who were trying their best to neutralise USSR. Why didn’t we let them (US & West) fend for themselves? No we are the protector of Islam we had to jump in and open our borders for Afghanis to invade Pakistan with their tribal mindset. Why didn’t they open their doors for Afghans?
Afghans should have atleast been asked to deposit their weapons on the border with Pakistan army and ensured none entered Pakistan without due papers and without arms. We did nothing of the kind. We let in millions of armed men in the country.
One of the government prosecutor once said in court if 29 million armed Afghans are sent back from Karachi there will be peace like before. But we do nothing of the sort. We bury that news. Was shown on Geo just once.
And a personal revenge statement that creates bad blood and hatred among people is drummed about and broadcast 24×7 for months. A denial complete interview is shown just once. Who is pulling the strings in the media one wonders?
Now Afghanistan is not a light issue. I do not think we should take it easy. We have to show toughness in how we deal with them at-home and abroad. Tread with care. Zero tolerance must be shown to terrorism that is if we want to be counted among civilised nations.
Now there is no need for us to show any sympathy to an extra-constitutional body – the Haqqani network!.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

For Nawaz this could be the last nail in the coffin.

Nawaz Sharif should not have started this blame game... now it is going to hurt him like nothing else...
The motives were ulterior. All could see. It has obviously back fired. You did this so that the Cancer Hospital gets hurt. People should not give zakath, fithra and donations in Ramzan. How could you do it  Mr. Nawaz Sharif -twice PM of Pakistan although did not succeed both times. Please keep things political if you want to acquire the leadership of Pakistan again. You are being downright non-political Sir. Now you cannot answer to Imran Khan's 11 questions. You might face the music.
You have left these two to do your job Khaja Asif and Ch. Nisar. Both are people of low intellect and integrity. They have no class either. They are known to make enemies quickly aur aap rappus mein aa rahay hain. Fire them first, if you want to come back to power. This will give some self respect to your other supporters who are otherwise going to desert you en mass if things continue as they are.
A quick apology would be in order and come to terms with reality and please stop hitting under the belt. Play the game fair and square. If you do not pay heed to my advice you are going to suffer Nawaz Sharif Saheb.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Immunity to president is for actions as president not for crimes of earlier times...

Immunity is for actions as President 
not for crimes of earlier times...
Can't the judges not understand such a simple thing. The immunity is provided for The Heads of Sates so that whatever actions they take in the best interests of the country should not be challenged. Now that is for actions as president.
It is not for crimes committed prior to becoming the president. Plus this time there was the dimension of NRO. I think Supreme Court should have been more forthright and more commanding. And they should not have given such a small sentence of a few seconds.

Now they are creating a situation for intervention. If army does any thing the politicians will start the blame game. They protect their interests not those of the people.

Chief Justice is active only in some areas and most certainly not in the area of  Judicial Reforms. He has done nothing for it. Cases unnecessarily take far too long. Why? Chief Justice should look into Judicial Reforms too. High time.

Friday, March 23, 2012

You have won hearts of the world if not the cup...

Pakistan lifts the Asia cup on the last ball
and a heartbreak for Bangladesh!

Boys you did well taking the match to the last ball. It was any body's game. Don't loose heart. You have won the hearts of the world if not the cup. It was just that it was Pakistan's day. Congratulations Pakistan you have done it for the second time. It is was a rare match. Even the die hard Pakistan fans I know wanted Bangladesh to win. I was surprised. The team showed so much of promise and determination and if one saw how they had beaten India, which was mind boggling, no body thought they would loose after bowling so well and getting Pakistan out on a paltry score. One bad last over conceding 19 runs and the needless pressure the middle order took while batting. 
They should watch the final of the ICC World Cup when Dhoni promoted himself and came early and never lost sight of the score card. He continually took singles and doubles with an occasional four in every other over if not every. I recommend that all aspiring players watch that innings of M.S.Dhoni the Indian skipper. It tells you how a cup is won. Plan your batting. While you don't get out you keep the score moving. Never stagnate. Don't leave it till the last a la Dhoni.

Monday, March 19, 2012

We are You and You are Us?

The Absurdity of US/Israeli Relations

“We are you, and you are us,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrogantly proclaimed to President Barack Obama in the White House recently.
How is it possible that Israel, a tiny country with only eight million people, can have so much influence over the foreign policy of the most powerful empire of all-time?  Yet Israel played a major role in shaping the war on terror against Islam, the war with Afghanistan, two wars with Iraq, and the annihilation of Libya by NATO.  And now Israel is aggressively doing everything within its power to provoke a war between the United States and Iran – a war which could quite easily precipitate World War III.  That’s a lot!
The $3 billion in annual economic and military aid which the United States officially provides Israel enables it to engage in continuous acts of terrorism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing against its Palestinian neighbors whose land was stolen by Israel at its inception back in 1948.  This process of Israeli expansion into Palestinian occupied territory continues unabated.  The Obama administration pretends to be opposed to further Israeli encroachment into Palestinian lands, but obviously couldn’t care less.
The moral justification for all of this can be traced to the Holocaust.  Because six million Jews were killed by the Nazis in World War II, Jews are entitled to their own country within what was once the Biblical Holy Land.  Never mind the fact that the land happened to be occupied by Palestinians.  For similar reasons, Jews are also entitled to revenge against anyone or any government which challenges the moral authority of Israel.  According to Israeli writer Gilad Atzmon in his provocative book entitled The Wandering Who?, this way of thinking has given rise to a new Jewish religion grounded in revenge, which he calls the “Holocaust religion.”  In the name of Jewish suffering, the Holocaust religion “issues licenses to kill, to flatten, to nuke, to annihilate, to loot, to ethnically cleanse.  It has made vengeance into an acceptable Western value.”  According to Holocaust theology a nuclear attack against Iran by either Israel or the United States would be morally justifiable, since Iran has challenged Israel’s right to exist.  “Israel has the right to defend itself.”
Because Americans were slow to respond to the horrors of the Holocaust, they are expected to do penance.  The U.S. government is obliged to provide Israel with unconditional economic and military support.  It must veto all U.N. Security Council resolutions deemed to be critical of Israel and boycott all international conferences which might embarrass Israel.
Israel expects the United States to treat it as its only true ally in the Middle East.  The so-called Arab-Israeli peace process is a complete sham, since the United States always sides with Israel.
In return for the unconditional support which the United States extends to Israel, Israel is encouraged to destabilize the Middle East so as to justify American intervention in the region enabling it to hegemonize the supply of oil.  It’s all a very cozy relationship.
The Israeli military machine is free to invade any country in the Middle East of its choosing and can expect the full support of the Pentagon, no questions asked.  Israel is the only country in the Middle East which has the right to possess nuclear weapons.  Any other country in the region which aspires to membership in the elite club will be demonized and treated as a terrorist state.
Few Americans are aware of the role Israel played in derailing d├ętente in 1974 and prolonging the Cold War unnecessarily for at least fifteen years by accusing the Soviet Union of discrimination against Soviet Jews who wanted to leave.  The charges were a complete fabrication.  The vast majority of Soviet citizens allowed to emigrate to the West between 1968 and 1989 were, in fact, Jews.  By portraying itself as both a victim of communism and America’s only true non-communist friend in the Middle East, Israel extracted billions of dollars from the United States to finance its never ending war with the Palestinians.  This strategy also helped deflect public opinion away from Israel’s own human rights abuses.
All of this is made possible by the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), our nation’s most powerful political lobbying organization. Anyone who has the audacity to challenge America’s foreign policy towards Israel is by definition an anti-Semite and can expect to receive the full wrath of the Israeli Lobby and become the target of a disinformation campaign. Candidates for Congress who are not openly pro-Israel will fall victim to a negative media blitz which virtually assures political defeat.
Nothing better illustrates the power of AIPAC than the invitation by Columbia University to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak on the campus on September 24, 2007.  Rather than withdrawing the invitation in response to the political firestorm created by the Israeli Lobby, Columbia’s President Lee Bollinger opted personally to introduce Ahmadinejad.  His introduction took the form of a highly inflammatory, arrogant, insulting diatribe against the University’s guest – all to appease AIPAC and its constituents.  As a graduate of Columbia University, I was overcome by a sense of shame as a result of Bollinger’s demagogic behavior.  He reminded me of white racist politicians such as George W. Wallace and Ross Barnett in the South in the 1960s.  The rage against Iran expressed by Republican Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum is more of the same.
Since President Ahmadinejad is one of only a handful of surviving political leaders in the world who has ever stood up against Israel and the United States, he must not only be demonized but eventually taken out.  Indeed, there is no more important test of one’s Americanism than one’s stand against Iran and its president.
In the eyes of the United States, Iran has been persona non grata since Iranian revolutionaries seized the U.S. Embassy on November 4, 1979.  Few Americans recall that in 1953 when the Eisenhower administration disapproved of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, the CIA removed him from office, had him placed under house arrest, and installed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as head of state.  Most Americans have also forgotten that Ronald Reagan collaborated with his buddy Saddam Hussein to destroy Iran.  All the while Reagan had arranged for the Israelis to sell weapons to the Iranians to finance the Contras in Nicaragua whose aim was to overthrow the duly elected Sandinista government.  Such financial aid had been specifically banned by the U.S. Congress.  Is there any wonder that the Iranian government is not particularly fond of the United States?
Although American politicians like to quote the Founding Fathers, no admonition has ever been more systematically ignored than President George Washington’s warning in his 1796 farewell address, about the inherent dangers of blindly siding with one nation, “a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of ills.”
The U.S.-Israeli relationship gets right to the very essence of what the American Empire is all about.  The United States and Israel are the two foremost technofascist nations in the world.  That’s why there is such a close symbiotic relationship between the two war mongering nations. The answer to the question, “Who controls whom?” remains in doubt.  But as we previously noted, Israel is nevertheless useful to the United States, even though it pulls our string.
About Israel, Human Scale author Kirkpatrick Sale once said, “The original idea of a Jewish state was a mistake, and to establish it in an Islamic Middle East essentially by force and with the immiseration of millions of natives was a tragic mistake.  We are reaping the awful results of that error today.”  Continuing he said, “It is not so easy to know what to do to undo that mistake, but I would argue that a world that can make a state can unmake it.”
Because the compliant American media marches in lockstep to the beat of the AIPAC drum, no change in the U.S. – Israeli relationship is expected anytime soon.
The only way to stop Israeli terrorism is for the U.S. to discontinue all economic and military aid to Israel.  Only then will the fighting cease.  But this will never happen so long as the Empire remains intact.  So strong are the ties between Israel and the United States that only the dissolution of the Union itself could put an end to the relationship.
If there is any hope for Israel and Palestine, it lies in some form of Swiss federalism.  The crux of the Swiss Confederation is a loosely defined three-dimensional matrix consisting of 26 cantons, 4 cultures, and 7 major departments of the federal government.  One could envision Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights as Palestinian cantons which cooperate with Israel, the State which surrounds two of them.
Nothing good can ever come from the confluence of American military might and the lust for revenge of Israel.
Thomas H. Naylor is Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of AffluenzaDownsizing the U.S.A., and The Search for Meaning.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tendulkar's 100 centuries

A century of centuries is no easy task.
The guy is amazing and remained amazing till last year. Now he has done something that is not likely to be emulated in the foreseeable future. Lara retired at peak long back. Ponting with 41 Test Hundreds has stopped playing one days and Jacqued Kallis is there with 42 Test Hundreds. Don't see any getting a break as early as 16 and being consistent enough never to be dropped to have an opportunity to break your record.

Tendulkar's concentration is unbelievable. His habits permanent. He never ever played without the helmet. With all that gear for the guy to focus for so long is amazing. He has taken the flak though that he plays for records but nevertheless he contributes one way or the other. It is another story that sometimes the team loses to accommodate his centuries. Like the team lost to Bangladesh because they slowed down for his century and not add say 30 runs which they could have.

Forget the criticism Sachin. Afterall who remembers the team won or lost so long as you have your century! People remember your centuries not the losses. But for God's sake now retire with grace. Don't wait till you are dropped. All great players retire while they still have some years left in them. Leave people with good memories not memories of your failures.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Where are the structural reforms Imran?

Reproduced below is a Guardian Article. Please also read comments at the bottom:

Imran Khan: the man who would be Pakistan's next prime minister

As he reaches 60, the Pashtun aristocrat who married into the height of British society says he is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the legacy of colonialism. The cricketer turned politician talks in Islamabad
imran khan
'We need to be a friend of America, but not a hired gun. We will take no aid from them': Imran Khan at his home outside Islamabad. Photograph: Sam Phelps for the Observer
Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, 59 years old, currently of Bani Gala village on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, is certain of many things. He is certain that "a huge change" is coming to his country. He is certain, too, that a "revolution" is on its way. And even if he does not state it explicitly, he is certain that he will, within eight months to a year, win a landslide victory in elections to become Pakistan's prime minister. "When we are in power", he says these days, not "if we were in power".
When I arrive, Khan is sitting alone at a table in the garden of the house where he has lived since 2005. It is mid-afternoon, but the sun is low and the light is already fading. The house, built as a family home when he was still married to Jemima Goldsmith, sits on the crest of a ridge and commands a view of the foothills of the Himalayas, a large shimmering lake and the city of Islamabad. He is dressed entirely in black, working his BlackBerry.
The house has become part of Khan's political persona. There is the short journey through the increasingly scruffy villages and then up to the beautiful hacienda-style house with the dogs, the lawns, the swimming pool and the view. There is the image of the politician who currently leads all polls in the country, looking down from his hilltop on the city and the power that he seems set to seize. The vision of the uncorrupt outsider eyeing the distant den of iniquity that he is set to purge is simply too neat to ignore.
Consciously or otherwise, Khan does nothing to undermine the impression. He leads me briskly down to the edge of his land, steps up on to a large boulder overhanging the steep slope and points out the park which he saved from illegal development, and the new houses scattered across the shores of the lakes that are getting closer and closer to where we are standing. "Look at it," he says angrily. "There is no planning, no planning at all." He flings an arm out towards the serrated ridge of hills along the horizon. For, along with the certainty, there is righteous anger. This is directed at a number of different targets: a "corrupt political elite" who "plunder" Pakistan; strikes by American missile-armed unmanned drones against suspected Islamic militants near the Afghan frontier; the local "liberals" who condone the strikes; the lack of electricity crippling the country's economy; imperialists of old and neo-imperialists of today; the war on terror and its attendant human-rights abuses; multinational lending organisations; Washington; rich Pakistanis who avoid tax while their countrymen live in "multi-dimensional deprivation".
In Pakistan today, certainty and anger make a potent mix. The country, chronically unstable if astonishingly resilient, is not only suffering ongoing extremist violence but also terrible economic problems which are steadily wiping out any gains in prosperity made in previous decades. Over recent months Khan has held a series of huge political rallies, with crowds numbering more than 100,000. In terms of popularity at least, Khan and the party he founded 15 years ago, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Union for Justice), have made a major breakthrough.
In the brutal world of south Asian politics – where dynasties, patronage and frequently sheer muscle count more than policies or public support – this is a genuine achievement. In 1999 I spent several days with Khan and his partyworkers on the campaign trail in eastern Pakistan. The headline on my pessimistic piece was: "No Khan Do". These days few would risk such glib assessments of Khan's electoral chances.
The late 1990s, when Khan was making his political debut, were a raw time. The political scene in Pakistan was dominated by Benazir Bhutto, one of the most celebrated female politicians in the world, and her local rival, Nawaz Sharif. In 1999 the army stepped in through a bloodless and broadly popular coup. I saw Khan on and off occasionally over the subsequent years, but there was little to indicate that my earlier analysis was wrong. He was a legend in sporting terms – one of the best all-rounders in cricketing history – and increasingly well-thought of as a philanthropist, without doubt, but not a serious politician. A column in a local English-language political magazine relentlessly satirised the ambitions of "Im the Dim", and few disagreed.
Now Bhutto is dead, assassinated on 27 December 2007 by Islamic militants, and the old guard of politicians who have survived her, including her husband Asif Ali Zardari, president since 2008, are detested. Khan says he could take over – democratically, of course – at any moment, but he is biding his time. "We have the power to go out and block the government on any issue. But we will only have one chance and we have to be completely prepared." Back in the late 1990s, he tells me, politics was "like facing a fast bowler without pads, gloves or a helmet". Not any longer, he says.
Khan was born on 25 November 1952 into a wealthy and well-connected family in Lahore, Pakistan's eastern city. Ethnically he is a Pashtun, or Pathan, as British imperialists called the peoples concentrated along what once was known as the North-West Frontier. Educated at Lahore's Aitchison College, one of the most exclusive schools in Pakistan, the Royal Grammar School in Worcester and Oxford University, his early years were typical of Pakistan's anglicised upper classes. Khan reminisces about how his family home, Zaman Park, was surrounded by fields and woodland where he used to hunt partridge. "Now everything is built up; it's like living next to a motorway," he says. "The air pollution, noise pollution… It is terrible."
Imran KhanSpecial delivery: playing at Lord’s in 1987. Khan made his Test debut against England in 1971 aged 18. Photograph: Bob Thomas/Getty Images
The shy teenager's precocious sporting talent took him rapidly into the national side: he made his Test debut against England in 1971, aged just 18. Eleven years later, after performances combining tenacity and flair, he was made captain of Pakistan. Khan's two autobiographies, All Round View (1992) and Pakistan: A Personal History (2010), both tell the story of his years as an international cricketer: the victories against the odds in front of the home crowd, the career-threatening injury overcome, the return from retirement at the age of 37, winning the World Cup – for the first and only time in Pakistan's sporting history – despite a ruined cartilage in his shoulder. It is only when in Pakistan, where the sport is a national passion, that the enormity of his sporting achievement is clear.
Neither book is forthcoming about his activities off the pitch, however. A string of rich, well-connected, beautiful women earned him a reputation as a playboy. Then in 1995 he married Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of the late billionaire Sir James Goldsmith. Aged only 21, she converted to Islam and moved to Pakistan. The couple soon had two sons.
"I had always wanted to marry a Pakistani, but I realised while I was playing cricket that sport at that level and marriage were not compatible," he says. "So I decided I'd only get married when I gave up sport." Khan twice announced his retirement: the first time, General Zia ul-Haq, then military dictator of Pakistan, persuaded him to reconsider, and the second time he returned to the team to help raise funds for Pakistan's first cancer hospital. His mother, to whom he wad been very close, had died of cancer in 1984 and in her memory he had decided to build a hospital which would offer free treatment to the poor. "The whole board [of the hospital] said I needed to keep playing so they could raise money. So I carried on until I was 39, and by then I was too old for an arranged marriage. I just could no longer trust someone else to find someone for me.
"So I found it very difficult," Khan continues. "The irony was I thought all the 25-year-olds were too young, and I was still looking when I met Jemima – and she was 21." The couple married in 1995 and divorced nine years later. "It would have had a greater chance of working if I hadn't been involved in politics or she had been Pakistani. Or if she could have got involved in the politics with me."
As one of his wife's grandfathers was Jewish, a noxious storm of abuse and conspiracy theories was unleashed. Pakistan is a country where antisemitism is so deep-rooted as to be remarkable only when absent. Local politicians targeted this "weak spot": spurious court cases, rabble-rousing editorials, underhand smears all contributed to make Pakistan a hostile environment for the young socialite heiress.
The construction of the cancer hospital and the leadership of his party consumed most of Khan's funds and time. "Because they attacked me and her, calling me part of the Jewish lobby, she couldn't get involved in politics and that was the beginning of it becoming more and more difficult. And she really gave it her best shot. I look back and think: could my marriage have worked? I think of the words of the prophet [Mohammed]: 'Don't fight destiny because destiny is God.' I believe the past is to learn from, not live in."
Imran Khan'She really gave it her best shot': with his ex-wife Jemima on their wedding day in 1995. Photograph: Nils Jorgenson/Rex Features
He still gets on well with her family – when in London he stays with his former mother-in-law Lady Annabel Goldsmith – and has a "fabulous relationship" with his sons. A day or so after we meet, he is flying to London for three days for half term. "It's very important to spend time together. Children really need a mother and a father. They have different roles, but both are very important. This idea of having two men as parents. It's a nonsense."
Religion became important to Khan relatively late. He grew up, he says, surrounded by faith. His mother read him stories from the life of the Prophet Mohammed and at seven he was taught to read the Koran in Arabic by a visiting scholar. But as a young man, he was not devout. The return to faith came following his mother's illness and a profound personal interrogation, he says, prompted by the furore after the publication of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses. Wanting to defend Islam from what he saw as ignorant attacks, Khan began to read more widely about the religion.
These days his identity as a conservative, but not fundamentalist, Muslim has become part of his political programme and, in a way not often understood in the west, his political persona in Pakistan. Liberals in the country dismiss him as a mullah, literally a low-level cleric but figuratively an ignorant extremist, just, they say, without the beard that is the mark of the pious Muslim man. This, predictably, irritates Khan. His faith, he says, has been influenced primarily by the Sufi strand of Islamic practice, which emphasises a believer's direct engagement with God without the intercession of a cleric or scholar. Another major influence is Allama Iqbal, a poet, political activist and philosopher who died in 1938 and is considered one of the spiritual fathers of Pakistan. "Iqbal, who is my great inspiration, clashes with the mullahs," says Khan. "The message of all religions is to be just and humane but it is often distorted by the clergy."
For all the talk of tolerance, Khan's party has been keeping some strange company recently, sharing a platform, for example, with the Difa-e-Pakistan or Pakistan Defence Council. This is a coalition of extremist groups which wants to end any Pakistani alliance with the USA and includes people who not only explicitly support the Afghan Taliban but who are associated with terrorist and sectarian violence. At one recent rally of the council in Islamabad, I met members of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, a Sunni group which has murdered thousands of Shias, while around me hundreds chanted: "Death to America." Lashkar-e-Toiba, the organisation responsible for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai in India in which 166 died, is also part of the coalition. Mian Mohammed Aslam, the head of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a mass Islamist party similar to the Muslim Brotherhood in the Islamic world and dedicated to a similarly hardline, conservative programme, spoke warmly of "close relations" with Khan, even going as far as raising the prospect of an electoral pact with Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf in the coming elections, when I interviewed him.
Khan says that as a politician he and his party need to reach out to everybody, but that does not mean that he endorses the views of the Islamists. Undoubtedly a social conservative who is religious in outlook and rhetoric, he does not lapse into simplistic binary analyses of the west (secular or "Crusader Christian" against Islam) like many of his countrymen. He denies being anti-western at all. "How can I be anti-western? How can you be anti-western when [the west] is so varied, so different? It doesn't make sense."
Imran KhanFinger on the pulse: speaking at a rally in Lahore last month. 'We only have one chance and we have to be completely prepared,' he says. Photograph: Warrick Page/Getty Images
It is not religion driving Khan's anger but something else. Take, for example, his analysis of the violent insurgency in the western borders of his country. For most scholars, this is the result of a complex mix of factors: the breakdown of traditional society, war in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the 2000s, the generalised radicalisation of the Islamic world since 2001, al-Qaeda's presence, the Pakistani army's operations in the area and the civilian casualties caused by drone strikes. The militants themselves, who behead supposed spies and drive out development workers or teachers, are increasingly unpopular. Yet Khan calls the violence a "fight for Pashtun solidarity against a foreign invader". He insists "there is not a threat to Pakistan from Taliban ideology".
For Khan this foreign invasion takes various forms. There is dress (he speaks admiringly of how the Pashtuns still shun western clothes) and there is TV (he mentions how his former mother-in-law thought one channel beamed in from India was in fact American, because of all its adverts for consumer goods). His charge against the "liberal elite" is implicitly a charge against the most westernised elements in the country. It is a defence of a vision of the local, the authentic, the familiar, against globalisation.
However, with his cultured public-school vowels, his half-British children, his British ex-wife, his success at a game the English invented, it becomes a very personal argument, too. Khan says he first became aware of the effects of colonialism as a teenager. "My first shock was going from Aitchison to play for Lahore. The boys from the Urdu [local language] schools laughed at me… Then in England we had been trained to be English public schoolboys, which we were not. Hence the inferiority complex. Because we were not and could never be the thing we were trying to be."
Even the memory agitates him. "I saw the elite [in Pakistan] who were superior because they were more westernised. I used to hear that colonialism was about building roads, railways etc… but that's all bullshit. It kills your self-esteem. The elite become a cheap imitation of the coloniser." He says that he recently read that after 200 years of Arab rule in Sicily, the court continued to speak Arabic and wear Arab clothes for 50 years after their former overlords had left.
His recent book is full of such references. P34: "Colonialism, for my mother and father, was the ultimate humiliation." P43: "The more a Pakistani aped the British the higher up the social ladder he was considered to be." P64: "In today's Lahore and Karachi rich women go to glitzy parties in western clothes chauffeured by men with entirely different customs and values" – and so on through the 350 pages.
This lays him open to charges of hypocrisy, inconsistency, of being a self-hating "brown sahib" himself, accusations frequently made by the "liberal elite" Khan so detests. Yet Khan's patriotism, faith and honesty are attractive to many in a chronically unstable country seen as an exporter of extremism and violence, as irremediably corrupt, as "the most dangerous place in the world".
So, what would Khan do in power? At the moment he is thick on aspiration and thin on practical policy. He would, he says, cut government expenditure and raise tax collection. He would turn the mansions and villas of senior officials – "these colonial symbols" – into libraries or even museums "like after the Iranian revolution" to show the people how the elite lived. He would solve the "energy and education emergencies" and he would "totally pull out of the war on terror", withdrawing the army from the western border zone and letting "our people in [these areas] deal with the militants themselves". Whether he could make the country's powerful military obey such directives – his critics allege he is unhealthily close to the army – is unsure.
As for relations with Washington, his position is clear: "We need to be a friend of American, but not a hired gun," he says. "We will take no aid from them. We will stand on our own feet, with a fully sovereign foreign policy and no terrorism from our soil."
Which political leaders does he admire? Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the moderate Islamist Turkish prime minister, he says; Brazil's Lula da Silva, who forced a better redistribution of his country's newly generated wealth; Mahathir Mohamad and Lee Kuan Yew of Malaysia and Singapore, two authoritarians. But it doesn't really matter. If Khan does end up prime minister he will do things his way.
Khan is not "dim", as the elite who he detests contemptuously say, but is not an intellectual either. He is a politician riding a wave of public disaffection, and that wave might just carry him to power. What he does afterwards is not something he worries about. He will be 60 this autumn. This would only bother him, he says, if he "had nothing to look forward to". But he is convinced that he does. From his hilltop Khan looks down and says: "This country will go through its biggest change ever. A revolution is coming."

  • ColourblindIsland
    4 March 2012 7:26AM
    A good piece, but having just returned from Pakistan, it doesn't tell us enough about the country itself. And if we don't understand the country, we won't understand Imran Khan.
    Put in a nutshell it is a country with a split personality. Most of its citizens are very poor but many are extremely rich. It is religious but also quite liberal. Backward-looking but progressive.
    One could say Imran Khan is a symbol of this split personality. But it is also possible to see him as the potential unifying force in Pakistan, the only person within the country able to bring together rich and poor, religious and liberal, the regressive and progressive forces.
    Certainly many of the educated, liberal elite believe the latter to be the case - or at least hope it to be the case. They're desperate for a leader to help take them out of the mess the country finds itself in. And many think he may be it.
    Of course they're worried that he may pander to the religious forces more than they hoped. But arguably, in the interests of long term peace and prosperity in the country, it is more important that he gains the trust of the religious extremists than the liberal elite. Only the religious fundamentalists can deliver peace. Which will allow the liberal elite to get on with the business of providing the prosperity.
    Crucially, and this comes over in the article, but he doesn't get enough credit for it, is that Imran Khan seems to understand the appeal of the religious fundamentalists. It's what we need to understand here in the West too.
    They rail against the colonial legacy - forget about the roads and consider for example the botched partition of India that left millions dead - American interference in Pakistan's affairs, starting during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and the poverty. So they have a case. Imran Khan seems to understand that. Whether he has the nous, intellect and strength to become a great leader is another question.
  • jekylnhyde
    4 March 2012 7:32AM
    As long as they have the madrases brainwashing the kids with superstitious drivel no-one has a chance of turning that country around.
  • IqbalkaShaheen
    4 March 2012 7:42AM
    That is all fine. But where is the beef? You want to become Prime Minister it is all fine. But how will you bring any change? If you want to bring change you need structural reforms. Where are they? What is your policy on land reforms. You have never talked of land ceiling that will bring about a huge change in the country. First those who were awarded huge lands to do the bidding of the Colonials and subjugate the locals will no longer sit in the parliament. Only can you see a common man in the parliament. Self employment will increase along with the purchasing power. Education then cannot be stopped as it is now.
    I urge you to take up the following structural reforms:
    1. Land Ceiling: No body should have more than say 50 or 60 acres per head with benami carrying a 20 year jail term.
    2. If it is under a canal no more than 14 acres, as more people should have access to productive land than less. Totally not exceeding 50 or 60 acres.
    3. Excess land should distributed among the landless poor. This should apply in Punjab, Sindh, KP and Baluchistan - all over the country.
    4. Have a policy of self reliance.
    5. Conservation of foreign exchange, not squander it on luxury goods. Deserve and desire policy. If you can't make it you can't have it in luxury goods.
    6. Similar policies on education and health and infra structure. I can go on.
    7. However the most important is Law and Order. No dacoit should go scot free. A criminal or a budding criminal should know that he will eventually be caught and punished. When they know no body can go unpunished the crimes will stop.
    Imran without these structural reforms you cannot bring any change even if you come to power. Wish you good luck.