Last week, Imran Khan withdrew at the eleventh hour from the eleventh annual India Today conclave in Delhi. The reason cited – presence of the fatwa-struck author Salman Rushdie – had its pros and cons, but on the whole the gesture was a very unimpressive one. Firstly, this was blatantly a publicity stunt because the list of speakers had been sent to Imran Khan weeks in advance, but more importantly such a step is eons away from any kind of positive ideological “change” that he has been promising.
Imran has affiliated with the right-wing suggesting talks with the Taliban, refusing to rebuff terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and even sending some of his party members to a terrorist organizations’ congregation. He probably wants to counter PML(N)’s influence in these partially overt and partially underground movements. This may not be very tactically wise either, because most political parties are either quasi-supporting these terrorist outfits or are at least too scared to oppose them.