Interview with Stephen Sackur of BBC Show HARDtalk: Is Imran Khan not guilty of bringing terrorism back to Pakistan?

DND Thought CenterInterview with Stephen Sackur of BBC Show HARDtalk: Is Imran Khan not...

Monitoring Desk: In his interview with BBC Stephen Sackur of Show HARDtalk, former Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he was guilty of nothing and even he is indicating that the Bajur attack was not conducted by TTP but by the Islamic State of Khorasan.

He made this statement in reference to a statement allegedly issued by the Islamic State of Khorasan for taking responsibility for the attack. As the death toll has risen to over 70 persons, the Bajur blast has become the second deadliest after January 30, 2023, Peshawar Police Lines blast that resulted in the killing of over 80 persons at the spot and eight in the post-hospitalization phase.


The target of the Bajur suicide blast was Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-F) local leadership. JUI had been under the target of TTP since JUI got Fatwa against terrorism in Quetta in July 2013. Since then Ameer JUI Maulana Fazlur Rehman survived three suicide bombings. Although the Islamic State of Khorasan has accepted the responsibility for the attack experts who know the dynamics of terrorism in the region believe that TTP in the past also used the name of Islamic State of Khorasan as both are just brand names of the same networking.

Since former Prime Minister Imran Khan invited TTP back to Pakistan, TTP has been targeting civilians and men in uniform. Imran Khan claims that Afghan Taliban after placing their government in Kabul in August 2021 pressurized Pakistan to start negotiations with the TTP’s leadership and demanded Pakistan to allow TTP terrorists to come back to Pakistan. In October 2021, Imran Khan confirmed that the military was holding talks with the TTP in Kabul “so that its members may surrender and reconcile in return for amnesty”.

Foreign media claimed in October 2021 that negotiations mediated by the Afghan Taliban’s acting interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, resulted in a decision of bringing TTP terrorists back to Pakistan, and TTP terrorists were officially invited by the PTI government for their rehabilitation in KPK areas and they started coming back from Afghanistan. However, the PTI government had no record of who had been crossing the border and where TTP terrorists were fleeing once they were allowed to enter Pakistani soil. After reestablishing in KPK areas, TTP demanded to revert the decision of merging former FATA areas into KPK but the government was not ready for the reversal of the May 2018 decision to merge the Federally Administered Tribal Areas into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The militants demanded the Pakistani Army pull out of these border regions and that the government impose Islamic law in all of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan’s Pashtun belt. They also demanded a blanket amnesty, as well as the release of their detained commanders and fighters, while still refusing to lay down their arms. Since the PTI government did not fulfill the demands of TTP, it started attacking again Pakistani soldiers. There were huge protests in Swat, former FATA, and even settled areas of KPK against amnesty announced by PTI government for TTP terrorists but the state was claiming that few TTP terrorists were visiting Pakistan to meet their family members. Locals were claiming that amnesty announced by the PTI government to TTP would again throw Pakistan into the fire of terrorism that had already cost martyrdom of over 75,000 people. Once Pakistan welcomed TTP soldiers and their families, that was the time, the thin line between TTP terrorists and other terrorist groups was washed away because nobody recorded how many terrorists came back and who they were. It is assumed that all terrorist groups came back to Pakistan under the so-called “welcome to Pakistan” policy of the PTI government.

Just after the arrival of terrorists back to Pakistan from Afghanistan, the ratio of terror attacks instantly increased and in the year 2022, a total of 262 terrorist attacks were reported including 14 suicide bombings, which claimed 419 lives and injured another 734 people. A 25 percent increase was recorded in fatalities in 2022 as compared with 2021.

Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) reported that out of the total attacks, the banned TTP carried out 89 terrorist attacks while another brand name Islamic State’s Khorasan (IS-K) chapter also stepped up its attacks in the year and carried out at least 23 terrorist attacks as compared to eight in 2021.

On 30 January 2023, the TTP hit police headquarters in Peshawar claiming the lives of more than 80 people at the spot. It was one of the most lethal assaults in KPK and the deadliest ever on police in the country. Then, on 17 February, with authorities still reeling, the TTP struck a compound in the heart of Karachi which housed the office of Sindh province’s police chief. This attack killed five security personnel and one civilian. The two strikes illustrated that the TTP insurgency had assumed threatening proportions.

On May 08, 2023, the acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Muttaqi again demanded that Pakistan should sit with TTP for talks. Speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, Muttaqi stressed that the government in Kabul had fulfilled its responsibility by initiating a dialogue between Islamabad and the TTP.

Now the statement of former prime minister Imran Khan that the Islamic State of Khorasan (also known as Daesh) not by TTP looks senseless and callous because he knows that his decision of taking terrorists back to Pakistan is resulting in the recent wave of terrorism in the country but he is trying his face-saving and as usual is not ready to take responsibility of his thoughtless and senseless decision of inviting snakes back in the backyard of the home.  Imran Khan also claimed that inviting TTP terrorists back to Pakistan was a mutual decision of civil and military leadership. How could the military leadership of 2021 take a decision of inviting terrorists back to Pakistan when the military itself sacrificed over 6,000 men in uniform during Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad?

There should be a thorough investigation to fix the responsibility of who was behind the decision of inviting terrorists back to Pakistan?—Imran Khan or the military leadership of 2021 both were on the same page?

In his interview with BBC Stephen Sackur of Show HARDtalk, Khan again repeated his lies, particularly two that were strongly confronted by journalist Tim Sebastian on July 15, 2023, during his interview with the Deutsche Welle’s show “Conflict Zone”. The two blatant lies that instantly exposed in this interview were that Khan never directed to do something to his followers that is /was against the constitution of Pakistan and the second lie was that he had no contact with the outer world when he was arrested and residing in Islamabad police Lines guest House. In his interview, he repeated this lie again in a BBC interview. Everybody remember still remembers that his charged mob ransacked outside the Parliament building, resulting in the death of three persons.

It must be remembered further that Imran Khan on August 18, 2014, while addressing outside Parliament directed his followers to “Civil disobedience” as well as floating the international laws of transferring money from abroad to Pakistan. He directed his followers to burnt down utility bills, must not pay bills to the state of Pakistan, and transfer money to Pakistan from abroad through Hundi and Hawala—the two acts that have been announced as “financial crimes” by all international bodies including the United Nations.

The second lie of Khan was that he did not know what was going on outside his guest House on May 9, 2023, because in a leaked audio he was talking to one of his party leader Musarat Cheema and he had telephone access during his stay in Islamabad Police Lines Guest House and he had confirmed that this audio leak is genuine and he had been talking to Musarat Cheema. Moreover, it was also in the news that Khan had access to his friends who came to meet him at Guest House so his statement that he did not know what had happened on May 9, 2023, because he was under arrest on that day is contrary to fact he had already accepted. Imran Khan is a fortunate person that foreign media is still providing chances to him to clarify his position in cases and keep confusing people through his strategic lies he is excellent to through and makes people more confused about whatever he had done.

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