NEWS > EVERYONE ELSE > PAKISTANI CRICKET LEGEND IMRAN KHAN BEING CONSULTED ON U.S. DRONE STRIKES
PAKISTANI CRICKET LEGEND IMRAN KHAN BEING CONSULTED ON U.S. DRONE STRIKES
October 28 2012
Islamabad, Pakistan – There are few things more controversial right now in Pakistan than drone strikes. In the U.S. there is no controversy over the strikes, they have been embraced in fact because they have been enormously successful in eliminating targets, but in a country where most of those strikes are actually taking place, the attitude is a little different.
For many in Pakistan the drones amount to an invasion of their sovereignty, something one would be hard pressed to argue again. They are, after all, foreign vehicles sent into their territory to launch military strikes, usually without permission. In most other arenas such activity would be considered an act of war.
That’s where the situation becomes slightly more complicated. Because the drones are, generally, hitting foreigners and not Pakistanis and because Pakistan relies heavily on U.S. aid the situation is different than it would be if the drones were roaming around, say, Russia. Pakistan still has an uncomfortable relationship with the strikes and, perhaps in an effort to help allay concerns, the United States has actually started to respect their views and even bring celebrities on board, including Cricket legend Imran Khan who has become one of the more vocal critics of the strikes.
“I was taken off from plane and interrogated by US Immigration in Canada on my views on drones. My stance is known. Drone attacks must stop,” said Khan. “Nothing will change my stance.”
It’s not clear why immigration officials were working in Canada or what immigration officials have to do with drone strikes at all really.
Khan was delayed so long that he missed a speaking engagement in New York which, of course, will not make him any happier about drones.
“It makes perfect sense that the people of Pakistan are a little upset about drone strikes but they are extremely effective, way more effective than the police or the military inside Pakistan. Honestly, the people in Pakistan have a solution to the drone strikes at hand and it’s really just up to them whether they want to use it or not. If they stop the militants the U.S. will have no need to use drones, problem solved,” said Scrape TV International Conflict analyst Mario Martinez. “I realize that’s easier said
than done but they could at least try. I mean they don’t try at all, not even a little bit, and that certainly isn’t helping the situation any. Just try a little bit and I’m sure that will help.”
It’s not clear if Khan has petitioned the Pakistani government to help root out militants or just likes being popular by going against the Americans.
“Obviously if you can bring someone like Khan over to your side it will be a victory because he has a great deal of influence over people in his country. That would be a nice thing to have, if the Americans could have it, but that is very unlikely because, well, I don’t know. It just seems unlikely,” continued Martinez. “Of course Khan’s support for stopping the strikes hasn’t really done much either so perhaps the effect he has is much more limited than he would have people believe. I realize he is a God and everything but of Cricket, not drone strikes, and those things don’t necessarily mesh.”
Khan will continue his fight, apparently, for whatever that’s worth.
Emil Uliya, International Correspondent