Imran backs Pak govt’s peace deals in tribal areas

London, June 5 : Pakistan’s cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has defended the new PPP-led government’s policy of signing peace deals in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, saying that incidents of suicide bombings had come down after the peace deals.

He said that with Pushtoon tribes straddling the Durand Line which had “no physical existence” and which was supposed to be running through 1500 km of the most difficult terrain in the world without checkposts, it was impossible to stop people from crossing over from one country to the other at will.

“They would continue to do so and some would even be fighting in aid of their Pushtoon brethren in Afghanistan against the ‘occupying troops’, so unless these troops leave Afghanistan, the so-called infiltration would continue,” the Dawn quoted him as saying at a reception arranged for him in the House of Lords.

He said there were no Taliban in Pakistan before 9/11 and there was no sympathy for Taliban in the tribal region before the Pakistan army went into the area and killed people indiscriminately and there were no suicide bombings in Pakistan before the Lal Masjid bloodbath.

He further said that an independent judiciary in Pakistan was a must to achieve the goals of social justice and tackling poverty and other problems his country was facing today.

About the ongoing movement in Pakistan led by the bar and the bench for the restoration of the judges deposed by Musharraf on November 3, last year, he said that both Musharraf and Zardari were afraid of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry because one feared his election would be struck down if the CJ was restored and the other thought if this happened the NRO would be thrown out.

Inspired by the justice system in the UK, he said he first became aware of the term justice when he arrived in the UK at the age of 18 to play cricket for his country. “For the first time I heard people talking about their rights, even students were talking about their rights. And they could do it because of their justice system. And I was also impressed by the social welfare system of Britain,” he said.

When asked what would happen in Afghanistan if NATO troops were to pull out suddenly, he said Afghans were democratic people and their Jirga system would overcome any problems that would surface as a consequence, “but as long as the occupying troops are there it would be impossible to achieve peace in that country and history is witness to that”. (ANI)