SHAWAL, Pakistan — The Taliban have threatened to kill a Pakistani cricket star turned politician if he holds a planned march to their tribal stronghold along the Afghan border to protest US drone attacks.
Although the Pakistani Taliban also oppose the strikes, which have killed many of their fighters, spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said they would target Imran Khan because he calls himself a “liberal” — a term they associate with a lack of religious belief. “If he comes, our suicide bombers will target him,” Ahsan said in the militant group’s stronghold of South Waziristan. “We will kill him.”
The threat could come as a surprise to many in Pakistan who have criticized Khan for not being tough enough on the Pakistani Taliban and instead focusing most of his criticism on the government’s alliance with the US.
Some of his critics have nicknamed him “Taliban Khan” because of his views and his cozy ties with conservatives.
Khan, who is the founder of the Pakistan Movement for Justice party, has gained momentum over the last year after more than a decade in politics.
Khan has said he is planning to lead thousands of people in a march to Waziristan in September to demonstrate against the US drone strikes. “We will not accept help or sympathy from any infidel,” said Ahsan, referring to Khan. “We can fight on our own with the help of God,” he said, as drones buzzed overhead. — Reuters