Sadanand Dhume, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal harshly criticized Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for his anti-American views.
The writer in his latest column on Thursday also doubted collective wisdom of the people of Pakistan for their support for the cricketer-turned politician and country’s armed forces in the latest survey conducted by The Pew Global Attitudes Project.
He said; “Pakistan’s frustrated population is growing ever more extremist, and many are starting to see a charlatan as their political savior”
Mr Dhume said with his craggy good looks and reputation for personal probity, Mr. Khan presents a contrast. For some in the middle class, the Oxford-educated Mr. Khan offers a reminder of happier times—of a confident Pakistani elite at ease in the world before economic decline and the rise of fundamentalism took their toll. In a rudderless land, the image of Mr. Khan leading Pakistan to a fairy-tale triumph in the 1992 Cricket World Cup is etched in the national memory.
He writes; “Nobody ought to begrudge Pakistan a way out of its present mess, but Mr. Khan offers less a solution to Pakistan’s pressing problems than a window into its delusional politics. He blames America, specifically the war on terror, for the rise of radical Islam in Pakistan and advocates the same aggressive approach toward the world’s sole superpower favored by hardline elements in the military. “Confronting the U.S. won’t destroy us,” he declared on TV. “Look at Iran. What have they been able to do with Iran, which doesn’t even have nuclear weapons?”
The columnist went on saying “representatives of Mr. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party regularly share a stage with the Defense of Pakistan Council, an agglomeration of militant groups and Islamist parties whose leading lights include banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Sami ul-Haq of the hardline Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. Among Mr. Khan’s best-known supporters are the nuclear proliferator A. Q. Khan, former head of Pakistan’s intelligence agency Hamid Gul, and Shireen Mazari, a foreign policy analyst steeped in conspiracy theories about American designs on Pakistan”
In the last paragraph of his article Mr Dhume went on announcing his verdict saying, for change Pakistan needs a leader who takes seriously both the threat of radical Islam and the challenge of economic development. Imran Khan is not that man.