Cricketer-turned politician, Imran Khan is determined to conduct the public rally to protest against the drone attacks in the North Waziristan region. The chief of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) declared that his plan of the Waziristan march remains undeterred, come whatever may. The protest is scheduled to be staged on September 23.
In an e-mail sent to The Express Tribune, Taliban leaders said they will arrange a meeting to discuss whether Imran Khan would be allowed to lead the protests in the tribal stronghold. Earlier on Wednesday, the Taliban spokesperson had told Associated Press (AP), “we will kill him”, if Imran Khan truly arrives in Waziristan.
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As per the reports, the AP journalist was taken to the militant group’s stronghold of Shawal, in South Waziristan, where Ahsanullah Ahsan, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson, said that they will attack Imran Khan because he calls himself a “liberal.” The Pakistan Taliban believes that liberal people lack in religious belief. In many TV interviews, Khan has said that he is a liberal, but also a practicing Muslim.
The Pakistan Taliban and Imran Khan both are against drone strikes in the tribal region. Taliban calls the people who participate in elections infidels. Ahsan further added, “We will not accept help or sympathy from any infidel (referring to Khan). It’s sure and clear that we don’t have any sympathy with Imran Khan, neither do we need his sympathy. We can fight on our own with the help of God. The election process is part of a secular system. We want an Islamic system and will create hurdles to secularism.”
However, in Thursday’s e-mail, the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) denied the allegations of threatening Imran Khan, saying that the AP journalist misquoted him. “The reporter added the death threat himself, bypassing the norms of journalism; he tried to break a news story for his publicity, and it shows his immorality.”
A man of faith does not fear death: Imran
In an official statement, the secretary of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said, “Whatever the authenticity of the threat, the PTI is determined to go ahead with its planned peace rally to Miram Shah on September 23.”
Imran Khan said that his march will bring the world’s attention to the hardships of people living in Waziristan. When asked about him being a liberal, Khan said, “Only God understands what’s in a person’s heart, and such labels are meaningless. It would be an honor to give the ultimate sacrifice of one’s life to protest American lack of care for the innocent men, women, and children of Waziristan who have died in thousands by American drone attacks.”