Many of our friends are stunned that Imran Khan admitted that the strategic depth policy has been disastrous for Pakistan. The crucial detail that Imran Khan left out was that he himself was a supporter of this disastrous policy for decades.
Imran Khan’s support for the Taliban and a denial of their atrocities is a matter of public record; none more so when in 2009, Imran Khan accused Professor Hoodbhoy of being a traitor when the latter called out Imran Khan’s horrible tactic of being a Taliban apologist. (Capital Talk, GEO)
The policy of strategic depth was essentially the support of Non-State actors to establish control in Afghanistan. Pakistan never had proper ties with Afghanistan since the latter opposed Pakistan from the very beginning. However, the policy of using sectarian Takfiri militias was firmly set in place with the joint ISI-USA-Saudi “jihad” against a Pro-Soviet Afghanistan government under the military dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq.
Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had opposed this policy. She had tried her best to rid Pakistan’s security establishment of Takfiri adventurists like General Hamid Gul. After the disastrous 1989 battle in Jalalabad, Benazir was reportedly furious and wanted to dismiss General Hamid Gul. Then COAS General Beg instead promoted him to Core Commander Multan.
General Hamid Gul was the intriguer who formed both the IJI/PML N and PTI. He was a mentor and supporter of both Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan.
For opposing the disastrous strategic depth policy, the security establishment slandered then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as a security risk. Leading the charge was Establishment stooge Nawaz Sharif and pulling his strings was General Hamid Gul. They destabilized her government and eventually got rid of her through corrupt bureaucrats like Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
This disastrous policy continued throughout the 1990s right until 2014 when the blow back became too costly. Once again, during her second stint, Benazir Bhutto tried to circumvent the security establishment’s disastrous policy of backing murderous warlords like Hekmetyar and Abu Sayyaf.
Left with no options during her brief second term (1993-96), Benazir tried to supplant the warlords with the Taliban, a different militia. This was a policy that was also backed by the United States and tacitly approved by her allies. Even Dr Najibullah initially backed the Taliban as the alternative to warlords. However, Zia legatees were still active and hoping to reinstall Nawaz Sharif.
The Ziaists quickly hijacked the Taliban and inserted both sectarian militias and service men into the Taliban.
By the time Kabul fell in 1996 and Dr Najubullah was gruesomely lynched by the mutated Taliban militias, Benazir’s second government had been derailed and subsequently fell – once again to the machinations of the security establishment and their trusted stooge Nawaz Sharif.
Years later, Nawaz Sharif’s accountability minister, Saif ur Rahman himself had to admit that the charges against Benazir by PML N operators like Najam Sethi were bogus and required the now exposed cooperation of corrupt judges like Justice Qayyum.
Much of Imran Khan’s other claims during the USIP interview were outright lies and absolutions.
Mr Khan also conveniently omits the fact that large scale sectarian massacres had already taken place against Parachinar and Gilgit in the 1980s – WHILE the ISI-USA-Saudi proxy “Jihad” was ongoing!
He also fails to mention how he (and the Sharifs) publicly denied Taliban atrocities within Pakistan.
He also fails to mention that from 2004-2014 multiple army operations against Takfiri militants were fought halfheartedly making the situation worse.
Khan’s assertions that they disarmed Takfiri groups is only partially correct. The PPP government tried to do this way back in 2008-9 with the Kerry Lugar bill. Guess who opposed that. It was PML N and Imran Khan who opposed this tooth and nail!
While there have been some improvements, these are because of decisions taken at a higher level. For Imran Khan to boast about taking credit for Asia Bibi’s release is really rich. In 2011, PPP’s Punjab Governor SalmanTaseer had risked his life to stand up for the spurious allegations against Asia Bibi.
When Taseer was killed by a member of his own security (installed for him by the PML N provincial government), Imran Khan had deliberately confused the issue as a fallout of the “war on terror” thereby providing a sneaky justification for Taseer’s murder.
Imran Khan’s assertions regarding press freedom were ludicrous. He claimed that people were petrified of former President Zardari. Imran Khan’s political career (and that of many others) is predicated on slandering Zardari and making up conspiracy theories.
While making a false claim about a disappeared journalist, Imran Khan’s government recently censored and took off air, an interview of Asif Ali Zardari.
This is typical of Imran Khan who can talk of press freedom and controlling the media in the same breath and get away with it in a softball interview with USIP.
Just months ago, Imran Khan’s cabinet of turncoats and opportunists had viciously attacked and slandered Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Bilawal has pointed out Imran Khan’s ministers cooperation and support to the same banned Takfiri outfits which Imran claimed his government was taking a stand against!
For decades, Pakistan lost tens of thousands of lives and close to $150 billion in damages due to these disastrous policies. Imran Khan’s spurious attempts to absolve his own dirty role as an apologist and facilitator is reprehensible. It is also typical of his dishonesty.
While he and Nawaz Sharif were still in the throes of romance with the same Takfiri groups, it was actually General Raheel who launched a military operation in the tribal areas in 2014. Thanks to apologists and facilitators like Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif, such operations were prevented from happening even as the 2008-13 PPP government begged General Kayani. In a BBC interview, Former DG ISPR Athar Abbas admitted that General Kayani’s decision to NOT launch an operation in the Tribal areas was regrettable.
This area had become the base of launching terrorist attacks and destabilizing Pakistan. It was only after multiple operations under General Raheel and General Bajwa that the situation has stabilized somewhat.
Hence, Imran Khan’s claims to USIP of taking credit for this are ludicrous. It was Benazir and PPP that realised the futility of such policies decade ago.
And it was Benazir, Zardari, Gillani, Bhatti, Bilawal and hundreds of Jiyalas who paid the price along with the rest of Pakistan’s civilians, police and army. Imran and Nawaz Sharif did not even have the grace and decency to properly acknowledge these sacrifices.
1. Imran Khan’s disgusting response to Professor Hoodbhoy Capital Talk, 2009
2. Imran Khan Denying Taliban atrocities
3. Imran Khan misrepresenting Taseer’s murder due to General Zia’s blasphemy Law as “fallout from war on terror”