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Khan: Pakistan’s Elections May Worsen Situation

Interviewee: Imran Khan, Chairman, Tehreek-e-Insaf Party
Interviewer: Jayshree Bajoria
January 29, 2008

Pakistan faces one of its worst political crises and increased militancy and violence ahead of February 18 parliamentary elections. Imran Khan, a Pakistani cricketer turned politician, has been vociferous in his calls for the reinstatement of the Supreme Court justice and other judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf during the November 3 state of emergency.

Khan is a legend in the cricket-loving world who led Pakistan to win its first and only World Cup in 1992. In 1996, he entered politics and founded the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, or Movement for Justice, with some students and other opposition politicians. Khan’s party, which is increasingly popular among Pakistan’s youth, is part of an All Parties Democratic Movement, which has refused to participate in the elections unless their demand for reinstating the judges is fulfilled.

Khan tells CFR.org that without the reinstatement of the judges, parliamentary elections cannot be free and fair. He envisages “a worse situation than what we saw in Kenya after the rigged elections.” Khan says the elections “will actually cause more problems than solve any.” He also stresses that political negotiations are the only way to deal with terrorism in the tribal areas and west Pakistan. “The only way out is for a credible government [in Pakistan] to hold dialogue with the tribal people and win them over to your side,” he says, warning that “it is not going to be a very quick process and it needs to be persisted with.”

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