Imran Khan wants to do a Nitish Kumar in Pakistan | world | Hindustan Times
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Imran Khan wants to do a Nitish Kumar in Pakistan

world Updated: Jun 09, 2013 09:02 IST
Harinder Baweja
Harinder Baweja
Hindustan Times
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Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar will be happy to hear this. Imran Khan, the new force in Pakistani politics, who has formed a provincial government in the most terror-struck region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), wants to model governance Nitish-style.

"We want to de-politicise the bureaucracy and the police force like Bihar did," Khan told Hindustan Times.

Khan, who fell off a forklift a month ago while campaigning, is still laid up but that hasn’t stopped him from planning and ideating. In his first interview to an Indian publication after his accident, Khan says, "The threat from the Taliban is huge but we plan to make people the focus and I have asked the KPK government to be transparent and focus on health and education like Nitish has done."

The cricketer turned politician whose party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), secured the second highest percent of votes in the recently concluded elections says he will be a fierce opposition but will co-operate with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on India and peace with the Taliban – two issues the PM too has promised to focus on.

"Everyone used to call me Taliban Khan when I advocated negotiations with the armed group but today, even the prime minister has become Taliban Khan," said Imran, revealing that he had told Nawaz Sharif, when he came to the hospital to see him, that neither drones nor the Pakistan Army can alone find a solution to the threat held out by the Taliban.

Don’t be seen as a lackey or stooge of the Americans is the advice he gave Sharif, he says, adding, "I categorically told him that drones hinder the government from negotiating and so the tribals living in the frontier region must be made the centrepiece."

Ruling out a purely military response, Khan says the way forward lies in negotiations. "The road to eace lies through the people living in tribal areas and we will negotiate through them and not through the army because the people view the army as being part of the problem."

On India, Khan says it’s time for fast tracking the peace process. "I agree with Sharif, it’s time to build a solid relationship. I would fast track the Mumbai trial and build an economic relationship because after all, we are talking about the prosperity of the sub-continent and its one billion people."

On why his tsunami lost steam despite popular support for him and his party, Khan is unwilling to admit that he fell short. "The election was totally rigged," he insists, admitting only to not having trained people at booths on polling day. That he says, was their only mistake.