Having won the recent elections in July, the former Pakistani cricket star Imran Khan is set to take office as his country’s prime minister on August 11. Khan entered politics in 1996, and, for at least a decade, has remade himself as an Islamist of sorts. The translators at the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI) present some of Khan’s stated views:
[A]bout a week before the July 25, 2018 parliamentary and provincial elections in Pakistan, the veteran jihadist leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil joined Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) political party. . . . On September 30, 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil a “global terrorist.” In May 2014, the jihadist group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (“Movement of the Pakistani Taliban”) released a video clip in which Imran Khan tells an audience: “By ending the politics in the name of language and [territorial] nationalism, [I] will gather the entire Pakistan in the name of La Ilaha Illallah [there is no deity but Allah].” These Arabic words are used to proclaim one’s faith in Islam. . . .
In 2012, Khan was asked by Pakistan’s Aaj TV about the decline in Pakistani media coverage . . . of his political activities. Khan said: . . . “Advertisements play a big part and [therefore] a small minority, the Jewish lobby, which controls the global media [is responsible].” . . . In another interview, Khan was asked to explain the U.S. agenda. . . . Khan responded: “There is a very big lobby in America, and it’s a very powerful lobby, and that’s basically the Israeli lobby. It wants the Pakistani nuclear program rolled back. . . . And that lobby is very powerful. The one which is trying to get an attack launched on Iran, the same lobby is after the nuclear program of Pakistan.” . . .
In 2011, when his party was still insignificant, Khan criticized the U.S.-led war on terror and blamed the Pakistani elite for being complicit in it. Opposing U.S. aid to Pakistan, he said: “I have been warning against this for a while, because according to all the polls taken in Pakistan, all the surveys, over 80 percent of the Pakistanis think that the U.S. is an enemy. Why do they think of them as an enemy? Because they think the U.S. is not fighting a war against terror. It’s a war against Islam. So, if 80 percent of the population thinks like that, then if you take it to the army, surely 80 percent of the armed personnel would also be thinking like that. That is why it is very dangerous.”