Imran Khan says no Taliban, Qaeda threat to him

Imran Khan said slain former PM Benazir Bhutto had faced a threat from the Taliban and al Qaeda because she had pledged to take action against them.

Lahore: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran
Khan on Tuesday said slain former premier Benazir Bhutto had faced
a threat from the Taliban and al Qaeda because she had pledged
to take action against the two groups but there is no similar
danger to him.

"There was a danger to Benazir Bhutto from only one
place, because she had come (back to Pakistan) saying that she
would take action against the Taliban and al Qaeda. So there
was a threat to her from there," Khan, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf
party chief, told reporters at his residence in Lahore.

"I have been saying from day one that this is not our war
and we should not have got involved in it. Therefore I have no
problem from there," he said in response to a question.

Bhutto had vowed to act against the Taliban and al Qaeda
when she returned to Pakistan from self-exile in 2007.

A little more than two months after her homecoming, she
was killed by a suicide attacker shortly after addressing an
election rally in Rawalpindi.

During a recent briefing to the Sindh Assembly, Home
Minister Rehman Malik said slain Pakistani Taliban commander
Baitullah Mehsud was behind Bhutto`s assassination and that
the plot to kill her was hatched in a Deobandi madrassa in the
country`s restive northwest.

Khan, whose party has shaken established players in the
political arena by organising a string of massive rallies and
meetings across the country, has often called for Pakistan to
pull out of the US-led war against terrorism.

He has also called for talks with the Taliban and other
militant groups, and offered to act as a mediator in parleys
aimed at ending terrorism in Pakistan.

Khan`s detractors have criticised him for his soft
approach towards the Taliban.

During his interaction with the media, Khan further said
his party was now making inroads in rural areas after
attracting followers in cities.

"In rural areas, people have a greater understanding of
politics than in urban areas. They are helpless as it is the
politics of police stations and courts. They don`t vote for
those who they think are good because of their fears, and they
vote for the powerful," he said.

"When there is a movement which gives them hope that a
change is coming, (they will act as) they have greater
awareness because of the politics of courts and police
stations which has enslaved them. The change started in cities
but very quickly, it will go to the rural areas," he added.

Khan`s party has attracted dissident leaders from several
parties, including former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood
Qureshi, who quit the ruling Pakistan People`s Party to join
the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf.

PTI

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