Taliban violence is becoming a major problem in Pakistan. The increase in the severity of attacks is causing more substantial calls for peace to break out in the country. Imran Khan, the leader of the centralist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, says that problems with East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh, taught him that “military operations are never a solution to any problem.”

Imran Khan

Imran Khan is calling for dialogue with the Taliban in order to resolve the conflict. Khan is stern in his calls for peace and dialogue in the country and he is firm in his conviction that “peace cannot be restored in Pakistan through continuing military operations.” Khan is also consistent in his attacks on the “saboteurs of the call for peace.” The words appeared in an editorial that Imran Khan wrote for the Pakistan outlet The News today.

Khan and peace through dialogue

The Imran Khan article focused on the problems of confronting the Taliban through military means. He brought attention to the 3000 martyrs who have died trying to restore peace to the country, and his concept of the use of military force as “mere holding operations.” Dialogue is the only way to restore peace to the country according to Imran Khan, and only the APC has the legitimacy to offer a “holistic approach.”

Imran Khan believes that the holistic approach to bringing peace to Pakistan begins with “structured dialogue.” For Mr. Khan, that is the only way to bring peace to Pakistan. Khan does not see the conflict with the Taliban in a vacuum.

“Most countries have eventually had dialogue with their people who have taken up arms and conducted acts of terror against the state,” said Khan. This happened with the IRA in Great Britain and Ireland, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and the Naxalites in India. Even the United States had peace talks with the Viet Cong when military means failed. The country is in the midst of peace talks with the Afghani Taliban right now.

Imran Khan and saboteurs

Imran Khan dedicates a certain amount of the article to those who have stood in the way of peace in Pakistan. According to Khan, President Musharraf “mislead the nation” in the wake of 9/11 and lead the country “headlong into a one-dimensional militarist path with disastrous consequences.” The series of “lies” brought about an American invasion of sorts in Pakistan.

One of the biggest evils of the U.S. military occupancy in Pakistan is the drone attacks that have terrorized parts of the country. In the article, Imran Khan wrote that “Drones have always been opposed on principle by PTI because not only are they a violation of international law, they do create more space for militancy.”

There are those who have mislead and bullied Pakistan into a disastrous military campaign against the Taliban, according to Imran Khan. It is time for Pakistan to take the matter into its own hands, and the only way forward is through dialogue. The Imran Khan article is sure to stoke calls for peace in the country—whether the government will agree depends on popular action.