Friday, December 28, 2007

Imran on Benazir

From a press conference that Imran Khan addressed in Mumbai while Benazir Bhutto's funeral was on in Larkana:

It's not just me saying this...we all hold General Musharraf responsible for Benazir Bhutto's death. When she arrived in Pakistan, from that moment onwards she was under threat. The people targeting Musharraf would eventually target her.

If he moved with the highest security around himself...on land, in air...he would not move without an aerial cover or a cordon around him...why did he not ensure the same level of protection for Benazir?

Why is there no proper inquiry into the matter? Now there are talks of a judicial inquiry. Of what use is a judicial inquiry when 60 per cent of our judges have been sent home? I say, reinstate the judiciary. We have no faith in these puppets that Musharraf has installed to take care of our courts.

There is no point in going ahead with these sham elections. Benazir kept insisting that the elections would be rigged. What the country needs right now is a process of free and fair elections...a caretaker government elected by consensus. Rather than keep digging further into the hole that Musharraf has plunged our country into, it is time to step out. Musharraf needs to step down now.

This, particularly because he has not succeeded in ending the terrorist threat in the last six years. If Benazir was not safe, if people attending Nawaz Sharif's rally were not safe, who in Pakistan is safe? What will fight terrorism right now is a democratic government, because a democratic setup is the only thing that will isolate terrorists. In trying to protect the US from Al Qaeda, Pakistan has only created troubles for itself.

It makes no sense to have elections right now. Who will step out to campaign, who will attend these rallies?

Who is to know what really happened to Benazir Bhutto?

No, I don't personally feel threatened. But anyone can be bumped off in Pakistan and then you can say Al Qaeda did it. If a man like me can be called a terrorist and sent to jail, anything can happen in Pakistan.

Pakistan is not going to be held ransom by terrorist forces but by anarchical ones. Musharraf had vowed to crush terrorism, now we find that terrorism is crushing us.

This blatant interference in other people's affairs (from the US) has to be condemned. The US backed Benazir as they would a horse, in a bid to have democracy in Pakistan, and that has led to this tragedy. The one mistake she made...she should have come with us (the democrats) and not have allowed the backing of the US.

What the US did in Iraq did not work. The same model cannot work in Pakistan. It cannot work anywhere. You can't win the war on terror in conventional ways. Let me tell you that terrorism is an idea; it's not an army you're fighting, you're not fighting the Al Qaeda or the Taliban or anyone in isolation. You (Pakistan) are now being targeted by those who had nothing to do with terrorism but who are now fighting in reaction to Pakistan's actions across the North west frontier and other places.

There is no military solution to terrorism, just a political one. We (his party) are ready to speak with anyone on this, except for Musharraf, because he is the problem now. He is not part of the solution.

I spoke to her April. I met her in Dubai. Memories I have of her? One, that she was braver than most men I know. Another one...the Benazir after her father's death was a very different Benazir than the one before. She was deeply affected by her father's death.

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