I know my party will win this time: Imran Khan | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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I know my party will win this time: Imran Khan

Arriving directly from the World Economic Forum meet at Davos, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf leader and prime ministerial hopeful Imran Khan said: “The Pakistan military will not step in to rule the country. They would have come in already had they planned to. This time things are different.”

kolkata Updated: Jan 31, 2012 00:53 IST
HT Correspondent

Arriving directly from the World Economic Forum meet at Davos, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf leader and prime ministerial hopeful Imran Khan said: “The Pakistan military will not step in to rule the country. They would have come in already had they planned to. This time things are different.”

Speaking at the Kolkata Literary Fest, the ex-cricketer insisted that if Pakistan goes bankrupt, the one institution that would suffer the most is the army. “So it serves its interest to let a government come in that fixes the system,” he said, referring to his party as the one which, “in the current set-up full of crookism,” will be able to do the much-needed fixing.

Dressed in jacket and jeans, Khan was weaving in and out of political and cricket-related matters during an hour-long session at the festival. He also spoke about matters he has dealt with in his latest book —Pakistan: A Personal Journey.

Though he repeatedly brought up the scourge of corruption, he however was critical of the Anna Hazare campaign. “You can be the best pressure group, but eventually there is no short cut. To rid corruption, one has to be a determined government with a political will.”

Guided on the stage by questions from sports writer and novelist Rahul Bhattacharya, Khan parried pointed questions about his idea of an Islamic Pakistan, Pakistan’s role in terrorism, and even offered his solution to India's “remarkable feat” of eight Test defeats in a row (“India needs someone like Sunil Gavaskar, the batsman with the finest defence in cricket”).

Replying to Bhattacharya's question about whether his perceived closeness to the Pakistani army came about because of the former sportsman’s natural affinity towards “discipline”, Khan said, “My experience of winning and losing on the cricket field has made me develop an instinct for knowing before victory that I would win. I know my party will win this time,” adding that his “party will be in opposition if it doesn't sweep the elections”.

Speaking on India-Pakistan ties, Khan said: “Most Pakistanis don't even remember the old enmities. It's history for them.”