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February 5, 2018

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Imran Khan not a ‘strategy guy’, says Asad Umar

LONDON: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice president Asad Umar has said the party chief Imran Khan is not a strategist, has never worked in an institution and doesn’t know how to work in an institutional setting.

The PTI’s vice president spoke to The Times on Sunday for a profile interview of Imran Khan in which Imran Khan mainly featured and Asad Umar was asked questions about Imran Khan’s claims on turning Pakistan into a “China model”.

In the same piece, The Times quoted Asad Umar as saying that Imran Khan is not a “strategy guy”. The Times reporter said that Imran Khan keeps promising to “bring the China model to Pakistan” to fight poverty but “in the car he is unable to explain to me what this means beyond: We have a lot to learn from what they did with industry.”

The Times said that Imran Khan said he wants to give Pakistan “a sovereign foreign policy”, “an Islamic welfare state” and “the China model” but he glazed over his eyes when asked for details. The Times said Imran Khan’s aides admit “the boss is not great in this department”.

Asad Umar told the paper: “He (Imran Khan) is not a strategy guy, let’s put it that way. He has never been in an institution, and doesn’t know how to work in an institutional setting.” Imran Khan told The Times on Sunday that his party’s lawmaker Ayesha Gulalai has been paid to say that he has been sending inappropriate text messages to her. His prayer beads flick faster and faster at the mention of his accuser, Ayesha Gulalai Wazir, an MP from his own party, who alleges he sent her “inappropriate” text messages and has called for a parliamentary investigation, said the paper. Imran Khan rubbished her claims: “She’s been paid for that.”

The newspaper said that Imran Khan has emerged as a man both the Taliban and some powerful quarters “would like to see installed as the country’s next leader”. “People laughed at me,” Imran Khan said, adding: “But I always thought I’d win. Whatever happens, I’ll win. OK?”

The Times said that Imran Khan loathes Donald Trump but its “hard not to compare the two”.

“Khan, like Trump, emerged from the moneyed elite, riding high on a personality cult, purporting to be the voice of every forgotten man, railing against effete liberals and the corruption and nepotism of the political class. And just like Trump, this ageing, hair-obsessed star is accused of sexual harassment. Khan is the subject of a Pakistani #MeToo claim” by Ayesha Gulalai MNA.

According to the newspaper, Imran Khan had demolished his father's house in Zaman Park, Lahore. His father died in 2009. His father was not on speaking terms with his wife. Imran had also expelled his father from the board of Shaukat Khanum hospital.

The newspaper, citing people from former skipper’s family, Imran was not on speaking terms with his father. He (Imran) himself said his relation with his father were quite formal. Imran Khan criticised Pakistani liberals who support Nato’s war on the Taliban as “thirsty for blood”.

The PTI chief said: “They have absolutely no idea. They sit in the drawing room. They read the English-language newspapers, which bear very little resemblance to what is real Pakistan. I promise you, they would be lost in our villages.” The man who was once married to the daughter of a Jewish billionaire now accuses Israel of “controlling the United States” and American aid of “enslaving” Pakistan, said the paper.

Imran Khan blamed America for pushing Pakistan into the war on terror. “They pushed us into a hysteria of blood-letting. We ended up sending our army into our tribal areas at the request of the Americans. And our areas got devastated. We had, more or less, a civil-war situation there,” he snarls. “The aid was minuscule compared to the loss of billions and billions and the blood our country spilt.”

When asked about how Taliban came to request that he should represent them in talks with the government, Imran Khan said: “All terrorism is politics. All this nonsense of religious terrorism. There’s no such thing as religious terrorism. It’s politics behind it. The political injustice. Perceived injustice is why people pick up arms -- throughout history. My tradition is of a more Sufi style of Islam.”

He told the paper that he wouldn’t be in politics if he hadn’t turned towards spirituality. The Times noted that Imran Khan makes references to British politics all the time. The reporter added: “I am reminded of something the vice-president of his party told me -- that at these rallies he prays Khan won’t bang on about British politics. He’s so incredibly English. I don’t know anybody else in Pakistan who will go ‘gosh’. He’ll quote Shakespeare, the Magna Carta. He’ll talk about English politics at rallies in front of half a million people, 98% of whom don’t give a rat’s ass about what happens in England. I have to say, ‘For heaven’s sake, stop quoting what happens in England.’”

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