Costs Of Khan’s Faux Pas
As the term ‘martyr’, or ‘haheed’ in the local languages, is used for honourable and brave figures slain in war, often holy ones, Imran Khan’s use of the word gave his opponentsan opportunity to recall that he has always had a soft spot for Islamic militants. They reminded people that Imran Khan was even called ‘Taliban Khan’ by his critics because he backed the Afghan Taliban and termed their war in Afghanistan against the Afghan and US-led NATO forces as a ‘jihad’.
Since coming to power after winning the July 2018 general election, Khanhas been closely aligned with Pakistan’s powerful military, which obviously didnot like his previous views. Indeed, it has carried out action in the former tribal areas, now merged in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, against the TTP and its allies among local and foreign fighters since 2003, at a huge human and material cost.
The prime minister’s controversial comment was also seen as a jibe at the US, as he argued that the foreign policy of those who ruled Pakistan before him was wrong and they had made a mistake by partnering with America in the war on terror. He also criticised the US for scapegoating Pakistan for its failures in neighbouring Afghanistan, even though the international coalition force of 150,000 troops was put together by Washington to defeat the Taliban.