Ex-cricketer Imran Khan unfazed by death threat from Taliban

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Imran Khan
Islamabad, Aug 9: Imran Khan, founder and chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, said today that his proposed march against US drone attacks "is "worth dying for".

Referring to the Taliban's threat to kill him if a rally is taken out to South Waziristan in September, Imran tweeted: "A man of faith doesn't fear death; a march for peace against drones that have destroyed millions of lives of FATA ppl is worth dying for."

When he pointed out that the "peace march is against a debilitating war imposed on Pakistan," one of Imran's followers on the social networking site put up an interesting poser.

"Will there be a peace march against Taliban who r killing innocent people in mosques, shopping centers and blowing schools," Vaquas Alvi wondered.

Earlier a Taliban spokesman had told The Associated Press that they will kill Imran if he goes ahead with the march to their stronghold. "If he comes, our suicide bombers will target him. We will kill him," Ahsan said.

The ultra-conservative Taliban are not particularly well disposed towards Imran as he has often described himself as a "liberal". The former cricketer, who led his country to a famous World Cup win in 1992, used to hobnob with the rich and the powerful.

When Imran married British heiress Jemima Goldsmith in May 1995, it strengthened the perception of many that he is a high-flying socialite. Post the couple's divorce in Jun 2004, Imran's views on religion appeared to be more strident then before.

However, the Taliban apparently are not willing to give him the benefit of doubt. Ahsan's assertion that "We will not accept help or sympathy from any infidel" was directed at Imran.

Another reason for their antagonism is Imran's dalliance in politics. For the Taliban, parties or individuals that fight elections are anathema.

"The election process is part of a secular system. We want an Islamic system and will create hurdles to secularism," Ahsan stressed.

Incidentally, the drone strikes are aimed mainly at the Taliban and the Haqqani network that is seen by the US as the main impediment to enduring peace in the region.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Thursday, August 9, 2012, 18:55 [IST]
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