PTI Chief Imran Khan stopped at Toronto
Posted by Zaheerul Hassan
Imran Khan, the one-time Pakistani cricket super-star and now politician, ducked each attempt by the reporters who pressed him on controversial comments he made about the Taliban during a visit to Brampton Thursday night.
Khan has come under fire for recently likening the war in Afghanistan to “jihad.”
He told reporters the attacks on him have come from both sides of the political spectrum, but always turned the questions to how the Taliban view the war, not how he views the conflict.
“Anyone who opposes the way the war is fought is considered pro-Taliban,” he said during a media conference at Brampton hotel. “This is madness.”
However, Khan, the founder of the Pakistan Tehreeke- Insaf, did not back away from criticisms of the war in Afghanistan which he said must end. The U.S. “War on Terror” has only increased extremism in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said.
“Anyone who thinks that militarily this war can be won, either in Afghanistan or in Pakistan, is living in a fool’s paradise,” he said. “For eight and a half years Pakistan has been applying a military solution. We’ve failed.”
Khan has also been criticized for not condemning more harshly the Taliban’s attempted assassination of 15-year-old political activist Malala Yousufzai.
But he welcomed news that her family says the girl will return home after she recovers from her injuries in an British hospital.
“Not just me, the entire country is ecstatic,” he said. “Everyone has been following her progress. This probably one incident has had more impact in Pakistan than any other incident. Everyone is pleased.”
Khan’s celebrity drew hundreds of supporters of all ages to the Pearson Conference Centre. He received a roaring ovation, with people chanting his name as he took the stage.
Khan said he came to Brampton to seek the political and financial support of the influential Pakistani ex-patriot community, whom he hopes will help him take power.
Saleem Khan of Brampton, no relation, said he came out to the event because like many people he is tired of the government of Pakistan.