Imran Khan: This is the result of a weak government and the 'war on terror'

"Pakistan must tell Obama that unless the US changes strategy, we will sink deeper"

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This was a major security lapse. Having promised to guarantee the Sri Lankan team's security, Pakistani authorities should have at least provided the sort of security that a government minister gets. This could have been a mammoth tragedy. And how were the attackers allowed to get away?

This was not an ideological attack, unless a link to the Tamil Tigers is uncovered. Sri Lanka is not part of any alliance that is involved in fighting in Afghanistan. Cricket is popular here. The militants want to gather popular support for their campaign. By attacking cricket, they only lose support and isolate themselves. Whenever known groups in Pakistan have carried out attacks, they have focused on targets such as the security forces and politicians.

The attackers wanted to destabilise Pakistan. It was an attack on the state. They wanted to specifically hit the economy. They knew that they would get international coverage by attacking a high-profile target. There are suicide attacks going on every day in Pakistan but they don't get noticed anymore. In this case, the stock exchange was affected. The whole idea that Pakistan is a war zone was reinforced. Just like after the Marriott bombing last year, this could lead to a flight of capital.

This is a tragedy and is a consequence of our involvement in the Bush administration's "war on terror". We were taken into this war against the public will. There were no Pakistanis involved in 9/11. We were sucked in deliberately by a dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, who wanted to strengthen his position and receive American money.

The government today is completely incapable of lifting us out of this misery. The present coalition was brought about by the charade of an election last year, the aim of which was to create a government that continued to support US policies in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas.

So we now have a pliant government. The result has been disastrous. Hundreds of thousands have been driven away from their homes as a result of the military operations. US drones, operating from bases in Pakistan, continue to kill our own civilians. At the same time, the government lies, saying they condemn these attacks. All this has done is deepen anti-American sentiment in Pakistan and make the government unpopular.

The country is sinking into these various crises sparked by the "war on terror". Instead of a government prepared to represent its people, they have pursued Musharraf's policies. The only way to retrieve this situation is to pull Pakistan out of this "war on terror". The Pakistan government must approach the Obama administration and say that unless it changes its strategy, we will sink deeper. There has to be an objective, a conclusion to this war. We need to know how this ends. But no one knows how it will end.

As far as the US is concerned, it's like a line from Alice in Wonderland. "When you don't know where you're going, every path takes you there." As things stand, the Taliban is growing and the Americans are increasingly hated. But what about Pakistan? We have no governance system left. That was demonstrated by how the Sri Lankan team was attacked, and how the government failed to protect them.

Imran Khan is chairman of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party and a native of Lahore

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