Imran proposes opposition's joint resignation from NA
LAHORE: All opposition parties should jointly resign from the National Assembly to register their protest on Kalabagh Dam and the army operation in Balochistan and Waziristan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said in a press conference on Saturday.
He said he was defending people's rights in the assembly alone, but was ready to quit to save Pakistan from what he called a severe constitutional crisis. Calling the assemblies dummies, he said President Musharraf was using the parliament to prolong his tenure.
Imran Khan said that without a consensus among all provinces, the dam cannot be made and the World Bank would not issue a loan for the project. He said although there was a dire need for water reservoirs for agricultural development, President Musharraf raised the dam issue to divide the opposition parties and prolong his tenure. He said the president had no right to dissolve the assemblies to construct the dam. Imran said the people of Sindh and the NWFP did not trust Musharraf because he had failed to fulfil his promises in his six years in power. He said Musharraf had promised to shed his uniform by December 2004, to restore democracy, and accountability of corrupt people.
Khan said resentment against the army had begun in Waziristan where the locals were target-killing government's informers. He rejected the government's denial of operation in tribal areas and asked who was using gunship helicopters. He said the government should be held accountable for handing over Pakistani nationals to America without trial. He said the Pakistani government had set up torture cells in Haripur and Kohat for terrorists allegedly involved in the September 11, 2001 incident according to Camp David report.
The PTI leader said a meeting of the heads of opposition parties is scheduled for December 27 in Islamabad to plan the opposition's joint movement for Musharraf's removal. He said political activities had been suspended because of the October 8 earthquake but it was time for the opposition to act to protect the constitution.
The Guardian: Khan Artist
Written by James Forsyth and Jai Singh
June 1, 2005
WITH 17 PEOPLE DEAD and anti-American sentiment even higher than usual in the Muslim world, people are looking for someone to blame for the riots that flowed from Newsweek's Koran story. So far, it has been pinned on everyone from Mark Whitaker to the U.S. military. But the real villain is Pakistani politician Imran Khan.
On Friday, May 6 Khan catapulted the 300-word Newsweek story about a Koran being flushed down the toilet into headline news across the Muslim world by brandishing the article at a press conference and demanding that Pakistani president Gen. Pervez Musharraf secure an apology from George W. Bush for the incident. It is unlikely Khan chanced upon the item. Just days before, Khan had tried to spark a similar firestorm over a Washington Times cartoon depicting the Pakistani government as America's lapdog. Clearly in search of grist for the anti-American mill, Khan's demagoguery speaks to his own two-facedness and to a downside of military rule in Pakistan.
KHAN EMBODIES THE HYPOCRISY of Muslim elites who inveigh against the West by day and enjoy its pleasures by night. His fame in Pakistan comes from cricket not politics: Khan is the best cricketer Pakistan has ever produced. But in London many remember him as an even greater playboy. Throughout the 1980s Khan was linked to a string of beautiful women. In 1988 he told Australia's Sunday Mail, "Pakistan society encourages marriage. There, I lead a very steady, comfortable life.
But as his cricket career wound down and he began to develop political ambitions, Khan became more reticent about his lifestyle. In 1992 when a London Evening Standard reporter asked him if he found his conquests fulfilling he turned bashful: "Er, by answering that question I put myself in a difficult position because this will get quoted in Pakistan. And in Pakistan, the mere fact that you admit you're having affairs upsets a lot of people's sensitivities. I respect my own culture and a lot of young people look up to me. It's a big responsibility for me not to make these admissions in public. Everyone knows I'm a single man and a normal man. But there's no need to stick it down their throats." His ex-girlfriends were less discreet, though. One observed to the Times, that same year, that Imran "juggled his girlfriends extremely elegantly . . . and he likes mangoes."
After his playing career ended in 1992, Khan entered politics under the tutelage of Lt.-Gen. Hamid Gul, the former Pakistani intelligence chief famous for fueling the Taliban's rise in Afghanistan. (Gul believes that September 11 was a U.S. conspiracy.) Khan, a man who once captained the Oxford University cricket team and was a feature at London's trendiest places, now turned against the culture he had previously enjoyed.
In 1995 he denounced the West with its "fat women in miniskirts" (presumably the skinny ones in miniskirts Khan had dated were okay) and proclaimed that the "West is falling because of their addiction to sex and obscenity." He also chastised Pakistanis who looked to the West for ideas, saying "I hate it when our leaders or elite feel that by licking the soles of the feet of foreign countries we will somehow be given aid and we will progress."
So it came as something of a surprise that year when he married an English society beauty, Jemima Goldsmith, who was half his age and far worse--for the Islamists he was courting politically--half-Jewish. The reaction to the marriage in Pakistan was hostile and put a rapid stop to Khan's political momentum. In a Pakistani newspaper column defending his marriage Khan mused that, "I suppose if my marriage proves one point, it is that I am not a politician."
Khan initially won liberal and Western hearts by building a cancer hospital and fashioning himself as a reformer, but he has turned increasingly to hard-line Islamist politics. After Khan cast a vote in favor of the Islamist candidate for prime minister in 2002, a leader in his party told a Pakistani monthly, "Khan has more than a soft corner for the ousted Afghan Taliban. He thinks that the orthodox religious militia did a great service to Afghanistan and Islam before they became a target of the Americans." However, Khan could never become the standard-bearer of Pakistan's Islamists while married to a Western girl--even if she had converted to Islam. Unsurprisingly, in 2004 he and Goldsmith divorced, each citing cultural differences.
Khan's ambition burns brightly but he is the only member of his party in parliament, and enjoys little popular support. His strategy for getting to the top is to climb on the anti-Musharraf bandwagon. "By the time we have the next general elections," said Khan recently, "
we would see two broad-based political alliances in the country, pro-Musharraf and anti-Musharraf." The easiest way to attack Musharraf, of course, is to attack his American protectors. Unfortunately, Musharraf has decided he will stay in power beyond 2007, keeping Khan's incentive to bash America intact. The rise of men like Imran Khan is the price America pays for backing a Muslim dictator--no matter how progressive--in the name of stability.
NOT THAT KHAN scorns America entirely: He likes its money. On May 15, just days after the riots killed 17 people and injured dozens of others, Khan was in Washington, D.C. raising $175,000 for his cancer hospital. His fundraising tour also took him to Denver, Los Angeles, and New York. But don't expect him to mention back in Lahore that American generosity is keeping his hospital going.
Even his political allies find Khan's duplicity hard to take. In 2002 one of his party leaders remarked: "Even we are finding it difficult to figure out the real Imran. He dons the shalwar-kameez and preaches desi and religious values while in Pakistan, but transforms himself completely while rubbing shoulders with the elite in Britain and elsewhere in the West." Khan claims that his marriage proved he wasn't a politician but his divorce and his recent demagoguery show that he now is one, albeit one of the worst sort.
James Forsyth is an assistant editor and Jai Singh is research editor at Foreign Policy.
Jemima Khan: I am not an anti-Semite
By Charlotte Edwardes
JEMIMA KHAN, the daughter of Sir James Goldsmith, has been told by her family's lawyer that he will no longer represent her because a newspaper article she wrote was "anti-Semitic" and showed that she did not understand "what being a Goldsmith means".
Mrs Khan, 26, who converted to Islam when she married the former cricketer Imran Khan in 1995, provoked controversy when she argued that the American media was pro-Israel in its coverage of the Middle East crisis. In her article in The Guardian, Mrs Khan also questioned the impartiality of American politicians with influence over the peace process in the run up to the election.
"The Israeli lobby in the US is rich and influential," she wrote. "The media is largely controlled by the Jews, as is Hollywood, and they account for more than half the top policy-making jobs in the Clinton administration. Peace can only be be achieved once the US acts as an honest broker, and the US media as impartial commentators."
Speaking to The Telegraph from her home in Islamabad, Pakistan, she said that she had been "horrified" by the hate mail she had received after her article which was intended to be "a balanced opinion from someone who has experience of both the Jewish and Muslim worlds". She said: "It is not the first time. In the past I've had extremely racist and threatening letters. One suggested that my mother 'burn down the house and the vermin within it'."
She was, nevertheless, astonished to receive a letter from Peter Simpson, a Goldsmith family lawyer for almost 30 years, which accused her of failing "to understand what being a Goldsmith truly means" and of employing "oft used anti-Semitic fallbacks regarding Jewish influence in America".
Mr Simpson, a partner in the London law firm Hammond Suddards Edge, told The Telegraph: "I maintain that the article was appalling and I won't deal with her as a client again, although I won't tar all the family with her brush. I think her points were positively anti-Semitic and I don't think people from a Jewish background should say those things - she has split loyalties, she should keep quiet."
Mr Simpson said that he had known and worked with the late Sir James for 27 years. During that time he had dealt with family trusts and acted as a consultant on specific issues for all the family, including Mrs Khan.
He said: "I know her father didn't have favourable views on Israel but he knew he was Jewish by blood and what that meant. He knew that being a Goldsmith means accepting what you are." .Other lawyers believe that Mr Simpson now risks a rebuke from his own firm for his outspoken attack.
Last night Mrs Khan defended the article, which appeared on November 1, and said: "My father taught me that being a Goldsmith meant standing up for what you believe in. My father would have supported me. He didn't equate being Jewish with extreme Zionism and desperately wanted peace in the region."
She also fiercely rejected accusations that she could be described as anti-Semitic. She said: "It is outrageous to suggest that I am anti-Semitic, not least because I have family who are practising Jews. I was raised with a strong sense of our Jewish roots (although I was technically Anglican) and was made familiar with Jewish traditions.
"Equally, I am now living as a Muslim, in an Islamic world. I don't come from an extreme standpoint, I can see it from both points of view. I would suggest that Mr Simpson, who has inundated me with faxes following the publication of the piece, is using this language as an attempt to gag me. I wrote the article because I genuinely fear that bias in America - among the politicans and media - is prompting an extreme anti-Jewish backlash in the Muslim world which can only lead to more bloodshed. Many people don't appreciate that."
She added, however, that editing of the article by The Guardian, which cut it by half, had made some of her comments sound "jarring" and "unsubstantiated". Mrs Khan dismissed critics who discredited her piece by claiming that she was helping the political ambitions of her husband in Pakistan or aiming to improve her credibility in the Islamic country.
She said: "Imran did not write the piece and in no way influenced it. In fact he was against me publishing it." Mrs Khan was invited to discuss the article on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, but was dissuaded by her husband. "Imran felt strongly that, given the response to the article, I should not do the radio programme. I think he was trying to protect me. He suggested, however, that we role play the worst scenario questions to establish whether I would be able to put my point across properly.
"He said they would probably ask me whether the article was a way out of being seen as part of a Zionist conspiracy in Pakistan. In reality, both the idea that I was part of a Zionist conspiracy when I married Imran and that I am now suffering from Muslim paranoia are ridiculous."
Sir James, a billionaire financier, founded the anti-European Referendum Party in 1996 and was described at the time as a "predatory capitalist turned fearsome politician". He was married three times and died in 1997. His father, Frank, was Jewish, but Sir James was bought up in the Roman Catholic faith of his mother. According to friends, he was not particularly religious but often said he felt Jewish and discussed Jewish culture and identity with his children. Mrs Khan also has first cousins on her mother's side who are practising Jews.
"As a rule, my Jewish friends think that there should be healthy debate about the situation. They are prepared to discuss Israeli policy objectively."
Last night Lord Janner of Braunstone, the former Labour MP and a former president of the Board of Deputies, defended Mr Simpson's decision not to represent Mrs Khan. "Jemima Khan was free to choose her lawyer and so her lawyer should be free to sack her," he said. "It is a free country although her article was free speech stretched to the utmost." However, her brother Zac Goldsmith, 25, the editor of The Ecologist magazine, defended the article and said it had been misunderstood.
He said: "I find it amazing that you can't talk about this subject without being labelled a racist. In Jemima's case this couldn't be further from the truth. Jemima comes from a strong Jewish background and has married into a strong Muslim family. She is therefore, in my view, uniquely placed to comment on this terrifying conflict. Her intentions were very obviously that of encouraging peace. To fan the winds of hatred could only work against her and the family she loves."
Ned Temko, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, said: "In a democratic and open society, people have the right to criticise - even stridently - and Israel should not be exempt from this. Of course I do not think her article makes her an anti-Semite or a Nazi. A better criticism of the piece would be to say that it is somewhat naive, oversimplified and that it contains inaccuracies which many people in the Jewish community, including myself, find offensive. Nevertheless, it is good to have debate and those that disagree with her have the right to respond."
Among the response to The Guardian were three published letters. Jeremy Taylor, wrote: "As a Jew I find I can support the Palestinian cause without embracing Nazism."
Mrs Khan said: "The truth is that anyone who speaks on this issue risks criticism from both sides. Anyone who speaks in a way that could be described as even vaguely against Israeli policy - and there is a big difference between disagreeing with Israeli policy and disagreeing with the existence of Israel - risks being shot down by extremists."