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We don’t like Imran Khan, say Pakistan Taliban

Terror group says it never threatened to kill former cricketer but adds it does not have any sympathy for him either.

world Updated: Aug 10, 2012 01:59 IST

The Pakistani Taliban on Thursday said they had not threatened to kill cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan if he holds a march to Waziristan, and blamed a Western news agency for falsely reporting the threat.

While denying the report, however, the Taliban made it clear they had no love for Khan, whom they view as a “liberal”.

The Associated Press had claimed that Tehrik-e-Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said they would target Khan because he calls himself a "liberal". Ahsan also warned they would attack anyone who participates in upcoming elections.

“If he comes, our suicide bombers will target him,” Ahsan said in an interview in the militant group’s South Waziristan stronghold. “We will kill him.”

“We will not accept help or sympathy from any infidel,” said Ahsan, according to AP. “We can fight on our own with the help of God,” he said.

Ahsan, denying the interview, said a militant ‘shura’ (council) will decide on a response to the march planned by Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party only a week before it reaches the tribal areas.

In a statement emailed to the media, Ahsan claimed a reporter of a Western news agency had interviewed him and then “added the death threat himself bypassing the norms of journalism”.

But the Taliban spokesman made it clear that his organisation has no sympathy for Khan.

First Published: Aug 10, 2012 00:38 IST