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Q&A: Imran Khan's dramatic rise in popularity
Recently, Imran Khan held one of the largest political rallies in Karachi, following a large rally that he held in Lahore. He has called for early elections and many people are now speculating that he will be the next leader of the country. He has also started to make statements about the Khilafah system. In the light of this, please can you elaborate, whether there is a foreign hand behind Imran Khan's dramatic rise in popularity and why is he supporting the concept of the Khilafah state.
To answer this question it is important to consider the following points:
1. It is well known that the real political power brokers in Pakistani politics are not the politicians, but the army. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) works in collaboration with America to rig elections, establish and dismiss civilian governments and also to decide the fate of any politician wishing to assume civilian leadership of the country. On the latter point, it was Musharraf, in collusion with America that brokered a deal with Benazir's British handlers and allowed her to return in May 2007, after a period in exile, to contest Pakistan's general elections in 2008. However, she overstepped her mark and was assassinated by the military establishment acting under American auspices.
In the last decade, Musharraf discharged the role of a power broker very well for America. He was eventually removed from power, as America struggled to contain the intense opposition against his rule. Now the responsibility to manage Pakistan's political system resides with Kayani and his entourage (which includes the ISI Chief, Ahmad Shuja Pasha, amongst other advisors). Imran Khan fully acknowledges this point. On the 14th of November 2011, the Pakistani English newspaper, The Daily Times, reported that Imran Khan said, "The ISI is calling the shots...The government lacks the moral courage, which has been giving the space to ISI to assert its powers in various affairs of the country." Hence, Imran Khan is aware that for him to possess any chance of assuming leadership of the country, he must work with the army, behind the scenes to forge a deal, that is acceptable to America.
2. The present government of Pakistan consists of the Pakistan's Peoples Party (PPP) and her coalition allies. The PPP under the leadership of Asif Ali Zardari is a government dedicated to serving American interests in Pakistan and in the wider region. Zardari was brought under US influence by Khalilzad, who provided Zardari with regular political advice, and he was eventually made President in 2008.
3. Zardari understands the power of the army in controlling the country and he is aware of the strong relationship of Kayani and his entourage with America. He tries his best to provide services to America to reassure them, to avoid his removal by the army. Therefore he is doing his best to be closer to the United States in order that they support him. Therefore, both men vie with each other to please America. Previously, the two roles were performed by Musharraf which provided America with a degree of stability in shaping and executing policy.
4. Zardari is a weak personality often relying on his wife's political personality to gain credibility and confidence amongst his peers and the Pakistani people. Even to this day, Zardari is unable to exert his presidential leadership and credentials. He spends most of his time in his fortified presidential palace, unable or unwilling to venture out and build rapport with the people. His slow response to the Pakistani flood crisis in August 2010, in contrast to Kayani's quick action to help those beleaguered, further weakened him and his government. Additionally, the revelations by Wikileaks about Zardari government's support for America's war against Islam, and the debacle of the Raymond Davis affair has caused his popularity to plummet to an all-time low, and rendered his government powerless.
5. The Zardari-led PPP government is totally discredited in the eyes of the people of Pakistan. The government is both inept and corrupt to the core. Hence, with the general elections approaching in 2013, America is looking to establish a new political setup that can provide legitimacy to any new government to continue with the pro-American policies and also provide cushion against the anti-Americanism that widely pervades Pakistani life. Nearly, all of the existing politicians have been tarnished for being too weak in their opposition to America's domination of Pakistani politics. This means that America is looking for someone who has a strong personality, yet is overtly anti-American to work with her and the Pakistani military to forge a new civilian government.
6. It must be remembered that Imran Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is not really a political party in the sense that it has strong roots in the society. Moreover, it does not possess any heavy weight political personalities of any repute, and is regarded as a one man show. Since 1996, the PTI has only one seat in the Pakistani parliament and that is occupied by Imran Khan. This means that Imran Khan will have to reach out to other politicians and ask them to join him to strengthen PTI, and thereby give the party a strong chance of performing well in the elections. Already several notable politicians and technocrats from the Musharraf era, as well as infamous politicians from PPP and PML-N have joined PTI. About 30 politicians from PML-Q (Musharraf's former party) including Awais Leghari, Jamal Leghari, Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Sikandar Hayyat Khan Bosan have joined PTI. The English daily "The News" has produced a report stating: "Names of the establishment's Q-Leaguers who joined the PTI in last few months have already been published in national press show that more than 90 percent of the new entrants in Lahore, Chakwal and all other major cities of Punjab are known Musharraf's men, having close and continuous connections with the establishment. Among those who have joined or are joining the PTI and who have been close to the establishment include, General (r) Anis Bajwa, who was number 2 in the ISI under General Ehsan. General (r) Shahid Aziz, former army general who was a diehard Musharraf loyalist. General (r) Javed Hassan who was also considered close to the establishment and was and has a 'Kargil fame'. Masood Sharif is ex-IB chief and is considered close to the establishment. Former Police Inspector General Iftikhar Rashid is also known for these links. Brig Ejaz Minhas has recently retired from the ISI, and he is secretary election cell of PTI, Punjab." Former foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, has been made Vice-chairman of PTI. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, the PML-N, stalwart joined PTI. "Makhdoom sahib's new alignment is a huge development and definitely boosts our party's political weight," remarked PTI's Central Spokesman Zahid Hussain Kazmi while talking to The News from Germany. The inclusion of such people is a clear indication that the economic and foreign policy will remain unchanged.
7. Thus, exaggerating Imran Khan's stature has been performed by America's men and the military. It is against this background that Imran Khan is being extended all forms of support by the military establishment. The rallies in Karachi and Lahore, and the domestic and international media exposure are just some of the tools being used to promote Imran Khan. America and the Pakistani military establishment will continue to work with Imran, as long as he does not oppose their interests.
8. Regarding Imran Khan's statements about the Khilafah, they are statements that do not go beyond the tip of the tongue, which agree with the military and the regime, to the prevalent public opinion amongst the Pakistani people, without any real implementation, or serious work for Khilafah. Therefore the state did not interfere by preventing such gatherings or arrest Imran Khan because of that statement. Whereas if there is any statement by Hizb ut-Tahrir about Khilafah in a gathering, even if it did not exceed tens of people, the state powers, its security and intelligence, mobilize to prevent it and persecute the shebaab to the extent of kidnapping. Imran Khan is not alone in supporting the Khilafah. Other important public personalities also support the idea such as Senator Mushahid Ullah, and Oriya Maqbool Jan. Recently, former Minister Shaikh Rashid said, "Islam is spreading rapidly and the Muslim ummah is now seriously considering adopting the Khilafat system." All of this indicates that the concept of Khilafah is now wide spread amongst the masses and the Pakistani political medium has no choice but to reflect these sentiments, in order not to become isolated from the people.
9. In conclusion, the Khilafah system is a complete way of life that is revealed by Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. It is not empty words. Rather it is a system that should be put into actual implementation in the government, economy, education, social system, domestic and foreign policy and in all the affairs of life. That there is no law except that from the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger and what leads to them. It is a rule for implementation, not rhetorical statements.
The Muslims in Pakistan must acquire a degree of awareness to differentiate the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff. The system of Khilafah system is not an unknown system that Imran and others can manipulate by the use of words! Allah (SWT) warns us about such people,
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يُعْجِبُكَ قَوْلُهُ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا فِي قَلْبِهِ وَهُوَ أَلَدُّ الْخِصَامِ * وَإِذَا تَوَلَّى سَعَى فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيُفْسِدَ فِيهَا وَيُهْلِكَ الْحَرْثَ وَالنَّسْلَ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَسَادَ
"There is the type of man whose speech about this world's life may dazzle you, and he calls Allah to witness about what is in his heart; yet he is the most contentious of enemies." [al-Baqara, 2:204]
The Khilafah system is known, and the honest workers of the Khilafah are also known, as are the pro-American hypocrites. Their predecessors have tried this hypocrisy and deception before and they failed.
6 Safar 1433 H