Imran Khan to HBO

Ineffectual and hollow

Prime Minster Imran Khan talked to HBO’s correspondent Jonathan Swan on Pakistan’s nuclear programme, the situation in Afghanistan and the increasing incidents of rape in Pakistan.

Pakistan might not have gone beyond the peaceful use of nuclear energy if India had not carried out its first successful nuclear bomb test on 18 May 1974. Again, despite having acquired the ability, Pakistan might not have opted for controlled blasts had India not exploded nuclear devices on May 11 and 13 1998 with Home Minister LK Advani issuing a veiled threat that now that New Delhi possessed the bomb, its neighbour should watch its steps in Kashmir.

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Mr Khan says once the Kashmir issue is resolved, there will be no need for nuclear deterrents between India and Pakistan. But will India, which is in competition with China, dispose of its nuclear arsenal once the Kashmir issue is resolved? And if India doesn’t, how will Pakistan’s establishment, which insists the nuclear weapon is the sole guarantee of peace?

In case of an all-out victory for the Taliban, there will no doubt be an incredible bloodshed in Afghanistan which would affect Pakistan as well. What is needed therefore is political settlement prior to US troop departure. But will a well-armed and battle- hardened Taliban agree to this? What the Afghans and Pakistanis are reaping today was sown by the USA in collaboration with military rulers Ziaul Haq, Musharraf and those who later controlled the establishment. What Pakistan can do now is to make the best of a lost game. One can only hope that Mr Khan will stand by his promise not to allow the USA any bases or any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan.

Mr Khan’s insensitive remark that if a woman is wearing very few clothes, it will have an impact on men unless they are robots, provides a defence to rapists. The PM’s thinking resembles that of the Taliban who banned wearing of shorts for boys playing football as they believed this incited people to commit sodomy. Doesn’t Islam call upon Muslim males to lower their eyes when coming across non-mahram women? Doesn’t it punish rapists? Any yearly report about the number of children, both male and female, who are abused, will show rapists are not incited by improper dress but a diseased mindset. Unless the mindset is changed, rapes cannot be brought under control.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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