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Pakistani cricket legend Imran Khan: “We'll sweep the election”

October 9th, 2012
07:26 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Imran Khan says he’s creating a political tsunami in his country.

Khan - a former cricket legend and therefore Pakistani icon - has transformed himself into a populist leader. He is aiming to be the next prime minister of Pakistan - one of the most dysfunctional countries in the world, and a nuclear power at that.

Over the summer Khan surprised Pakistan and the world by drawing crowds of more than 200,000 followers to his political rallies.

Khan’s political party 

Pakistani observers say it's the first time in forty years that a relatively new national party has come on the scene and shaken things up so dramatically.

Khan says membership in his Tehreek-e-Insaf party has crossed 10 million.

"But the party isn’t even in the government - though Khan believes this fact will help endear him to the Pakistani electorate."

“They have seen all the parties and they are riddled with corruption and have failed to provide governance,” Khan told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Tuesday.

“People will vote for change and change is my party.” Khan seemed genuine when he assuredly said, “We'll sweep the election.”

But Khan says his party will not join in a coalition.

“Coalition means that you will have to compromise with the status quo. We are the anti-status quo party. We cannot bring change by compromising with one of the parties which is part of the status quo in power. So we will fight alone.”

Taliban attack wounds teen activist blogger

The U.S. and drones

Drones - President Obama's key weapon in the U.S. war against terrorists - are what draw crowds to Khan's cause. Recent U.S. studies say constantly hovering drones are terrorizing the Pakistani population, and have resulted in an alarming number of civilians being killed.

“The drones are counterproductive,” Khan told Amanpour. You don't kill your way to peace. The years of war in Afghanistan, Asia and Pakistan, what has it achieved? It's time to give peace a chance.”

Khan said that inside Pakistan, drones add to the perception that the Pakistani army is a "hired gun" of the U.S., causing militants target the Pakistan army. So his first point of business would be to ask the U.S. to cease drone attacks.

“There's an unending chain of violence going on,” Khan said. If he could change this perception, Khan said, it would strength the Pakistani military and allows them to fight terrorism on their own terms. As a result, Khan believes the tribal people would take back control over their land from the Taliban. He optimistically said it would take just a matter of months.

Khan and the Taliban

Critics accuse Khan of being naïve. They say he’s too soft on the Pakistani Taliban and too cozy with the Pakistani military and its notorious security service.

“Because I'm anti-war, I've been called pro-Taliban,” Khan told Amanpour.

He believes his strength is in understanding the tribal areas, where he believes it is least effective to send in the military and drones.

“The only way to win this war is win the hearts and minds of the people in tribal areas," Khan said. “The British were stuck there for 80 years. They didn't win. For 80 years they had military operations. Right up until 1947 – when we got our independence – there were British soldiers dying there.”

U.S. elections

Khan said that he wants whoever can stop the war on terror to win the U.S. presidential elections in November.

“I want an anti-war president. I've prayed for Obama because I wanted Obama to stop this insanity called the war on terror."

“You don't fight it with bombs and planes. Terrorism is you winning hearts and minds of people. I want to have a president in the U.S. who tries to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world.”

Explainer: Pakistan's blasphemy laws

CNN’s Claire Calzonetti produced this piece for television.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Hassan

    Imran khan is honest man and true representative of Pakistan. I would like United state of America to stop supporting the puppets and listen to this man. He is the solution of this area that will bring peace to Pakistan and can help United state to get of out of Afghanistan.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Reply
    • aila

      u said right really imran khan is true man n trusted also,we need a sincere leader that is no except imran khan.

      October 10, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply
      • sadyal

        He is the man that we all americans can trust as well as pakistanis. Please please please give him a chance.

        October 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Shehnaz Khan

      Absolutely right !

      October 11, 2012 at 6:43 am | Reply
    • Tariq Yusafzai

      Imran Khan is a westernized, well intentioned fool, Each time he speaks up against the drones, which mainly target the evil doers and child killers, he gives the Taliban succor and support. IK denies this everytime he is asked this, and he says we have made US war our war, but he does not realize, the Taliban has decided to impose their brand of Islam in the region long before 911.

      IK is in denial, and thinks he has all the answers, he spent the first half of his life as a womanizer, and heavy drug user, now all of a sudden he is a born again Muslim.

      I have respect for him as a person and a cricketer and like his ideas all except his stupid, and frankly dangerous stance on Taliban, his continous retort to have talks with the Taliban, and somehow if the US leaves, the Taliban will vanish as well. This mans naivete' is highly dangerous and is dividing the nation instead of being united with Pakistanis against Taliban, he has become an indirect supporter of Taliban making excuses for them.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  2. Carlin

    .....Ron Paul is that man of peace! But Noooooooooooooooo, stupid Americans have to pick from idiot 1 or idiot 2.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
    • Renegade

      You got that right, "Stupid Americans"

      October 10, 2012 at 8:45 am | Reply
    • Jawad

      lol right on

      October 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  3. imran

    imran khan is great leader and he is not anti america or anti west all he wants that america must listen his partners not bully them.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  4. imran

    his book name is, warrior race ,about his journey through tribal area of pakistan ,his mom was from south wazeristan .

    October 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Reply
    • Tariq Yusafzai

      Rubbish, not all Pashtgun are warrior race, many Punjabis are also and a better martial warrior race, this is an overblown myth that Pashtun are brave and fighters, they are not all like that, there are a few tribes that are warrior, but even then they rarely fight hand to hand, always with guns, they shoot and scoot, rarely stand and fight to the end. IK cant even speak pashto and loves to brag about his being pashtun, please, stop showing off.

      October 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
      • Atique

        Dear Tariq Yousafzai, never mind if Imran Khan is not from martial warrior race and he can not speak pashto language. He is a man with a vision and commitment to bring Pakistan out of the current darkness,to improve the country's image and to improve the living standard of ordinary people.

        October 13, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  5. DEAN

    I would be for anyone who can bring peace to Pakistan. That said, i would be highly doubtful this man or any other man can tame the rugged area along the Afghanistan border this is and has been a safehaven for militants. My suggestion would be to get all forces out from Afghanistan and Pakistan can try that plan on their own. Too much money has been spent on these fruitless wars. Winning the hearts and minds of the people seldom works when a population sees you as an enemy.

    October 9, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Reply
  6. Usman Masood

    Ron Paul was Americas Imran Khan.
    They lost theirs, lets make sure we dont lose ours!!!

    Imran Khan 2013. Pakistans Last Ray Of Hope!

    October 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  7. Raza

    Imran is only Leader in his party that can bring synergy in his party, there will be serious shortage of talent and Leadership in his party if he is gone from the scene. I think he should carve more leaders like him in his party to be a real winner in future instead of going for short term and short sighted goals and polices like drones and elections. If he will be able to produce only two or more leaders like him in his party and make a system that will produce real leadership in future, then i think it will be enough for Pakistan.

    October 10, 2012 at 12:52 am | Reply
  8. Arun

    Hats off to Imran Khan, who really cares about the problems in the sub-continent. Once I heard his interview with Amanpour, I am more convinced that he can bring changes and peace here. I also suggest that he push for self rule in Waziristan and tribal areas and Paksitan controls mostly currency, army and trade. Same should be done in Kashmir and India should allow more self rule and autonomous existence. In end end leaders need to work on bringing prosperity, open borders for people to travel anywhere and peace. The leaders should work on bringing peace to sub-continent at any cost without WAR and leave a good legacy to the future generations. Religion and tribal rivalries should be set aside first before any progress can be made. Good Luck Imran.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:01 am | Reply
    • Farrukh

      Arun i totally agree with you

      October 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • Tariq Yusafzai

      oh please enough hero worship, IK is not the answer to Pakistan, if anyone really knows Pakistan and can take care of it, it will have to be someone from the working classes. We still dont have an answer.

      IK is an elitist, who wonders why the people dont eat cake? He has a black and white answer for every ill, too many people who have been disappointed by the PPP and PML are relying on him, I would rather have the PPP than the PML any day, the PML is a complete party of idiots.

      October 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
      • Rahul Jaiswal

        You have a very valid point. But at this no moment he is your best option. Working class heroes are always late to power for obvious reasons.

        October 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
      • Ijaz

        Tariq, you give me the solution for war on terror? Do more, is that your solution? Imran is saying from day one, war is not the solution but no one listen. When drone comes to your own backyard and when one of your own family member becomes victim of drone, then you may realize it. Again going to back to the point, do you have a solution?

        October 28, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Atique

      Yes, you are one of those few who know what they are talking about.

      October 13, 2012 at 10:28 am | Reply
  9. Umaira

    America needs to let Pakistan handle their borders and deal with militants...too bad, current Pakistani gov't is so incompetent. Most of the Pakistani youth is relying on Imran Khan to take charge and clear this country of its deeply rooted corruption. As far as USA drone attacks on Pakistan, Pakistan's people have same rights as all other nations in the world...America can NOT be judge, jury and executioner for anyone...all human beings have the right to "due process of law"

    October 10, 2012 at 1:22 am | Reply
    • ditatraders

      Imran will change the scenario of our system with his radical reforms.
      I beleive He will change the future of Pakistan as a whole

      October 10, 2012 at 1:31 am | Reply
  10. ditatraders

    Imran got the character to lead the nation of Unpredictable talented people. He has the courage to make a way for pakistanis. only Pathan can change our destiny. They are the real LEADERS

    October 10, 2012 at 1:32 am | Reply
  11. Syed

    Imran khan is a great leader. Great interview by Amanpur.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:51 am | Reply
  12. Nadia Mir

    Imran Khan is the only upcoming emperor who will fight for Pakistani peoples for their rights politically. Imran Khan's stand
    on DRONE is warmly welcomed through out the world and by the whole civilized nations. America has no right to bulldoze every thing on the name of TALIBAN and kill innocent citizens of Pakistan by drone attacks. Even in America drone are not
    acceptable for USA citizens.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:24 am | Reply
  13. TribalBeat

    Stop the Drone attacks! Stop the killing of innocent civilians!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:32 am | Reply
  14. Fiaz Samad

    Imran Khan is the only solution to this war. Vote for him.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:35 am | Reply
  15. Uza Syed

    Imran Khan is another face of the Talibans, if you culd pierce through the veil of his modernit and fake passion. He is a 'born again' and convincd that he, with the help of all the various faction of terrorists roaming around Pakistan and and its free tribal areas, can create hegemony of his band of Islam. This man is, as Salamn Rushdie, described him to be another version of that Libyan moron,the evil man Moamer Gaddafi. Those who are so impressed by his faked passioate appeal for a chance for peace must watch him in an interview on Express TV yesterday and make up their minds about this man's designs, he would lead poor Pakistan into a war with the U.S. and NATO. He is a crazy man and must be seen and treated as such.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:54 am | Reply
    • Talha Malik

      So Uza... What do you want? Who is not crazy? Who will save Pakistan? The day you will be able to answer my questions will be a day of change for the world... Think before you say something!

      October 10, 2012 at 6:58 am | Reply
    • Maliha Hussain

      Uza Syed it seems you have something personal against Imran Khan........there is bitterness and venom oozing out from every sentence ! Imran is the only sensible and moderate leader of Pakistan who is for peace all over the world. He has always condemned Talibans and their ideology but what need to be understood is that these wars are creating more radicals than are eliminating! Imran Khan understands both the Western and Pakistani mind better than any other leader! Don't oppose for the sake of opposition. Give peace a chance!

      October 10, 2012 at 9:41 am | Reply
      • saifullah unar

        maliha your doing the right way to discourage uza because he don't have any things to publish

        October 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Umaira

      Dear Uza, do you really believe Mr. T. Hussain to be a credible anchor? Just watch Amanpour's interview with IK and note the difference as to how should a professional anchor conduct an interview. Whenever IK referenced history to Mr. Hussain, he brushed it off saying "but that is in the past" (even though anyone wise enough will tell you that you learn from your history) and then whenever IK talked about Pakistan's future, Mr. Hussain had a whole ot of ifs and buts. It is sad to see most of the Pakistani anchors have become such mouthpieces for the current gov't and PML-N. They are sell outs. Mr. Hussain said and I quote "we already know current gov't isn't going to do anything about the drones so lets not even bother talking about it". My question is why aren't we trashing PPP, PML-N and all the other parties sitting in parliament? Why is it acceptable for our gov't to give green light on killing Pakistani civilians (adults/children)? Why are we criticizing the only man who is actually raising the drone issue? Judging by your comment, I would say you are pro war. I'm not sure how you get to the conclusion of calling IK a taliban. The reason he didn't mention "Taliban" for Malala Yousafza's attackers because he PTI has workers in Wazeristan and IK does not want to put them in harms way by naming names. IK is well aware that Taliban can cause terror in the region... endangering lives of the locals and his party workers. I admire IK for being the first one and the only one to care for Malala and her family (since our other so called leaders can't even leave their fear of their lives).
      I hope people have better judge of character and can decide for themselves that Imran Khan is the only option Pakistan has.......

      October 10, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
  16. Ganja Shareef

    imran khan is the one and only hope to stop this war.. He has always condemned Talibans and their ideology but what need to be understood is that these wars are creating more radicals than are eliminating. . plzzz vote for him to and GIVE PEACE A CHANCE.. (PLZ FOR GOD SAKE)

    October 10, 2012 at 11:25 am | Reply
  17. Shahid Ur Rahman

    We want Imran Khan our next President/Prime Minister.Long live Tehreek Insaf.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
  18. Nauman Younas

    Imran Khan is not saying that Taliban (the terrorists) will not be dealt with. He is offering a different and right approach to remove them from a cancerous body...and that is to first isolate them from those who have nothing to do with terrorism or war, and then bring them to justice. If we start considering all living in Waziristan as Taliban or Terrorists then this disorder can never be restored.
    Sooner or later, Imran will have to start giving this message to these Barbarians that they will be brought to justice. Drones must stop and peaceful process in Waziristan should begin, but once these Terrorists are isolated, they will be executed and operated upon.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:59 am | Reply
  19. saif

    im very shore about imran to change the life of trible people because he is doing some practical steps and i want American government to please stop drone lot of innocent people were died.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  20. Tarzi

    @Nauman Younas,

    Tell Pakistan to stop supporting war on Pashtuns with NATO supplies and drone attacks, and the problem is over. This is a global crime that the media is cheering on.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  21. Tarzi

    let it be recorded that all those in favor of more US war in Afghanistan and in favor of continued bloodshed of Pashtuns.

    This is a crime, and the media must speak out against it instead of lying all the damned time.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  22. Tarzi

    stop stealing the resources of Middle East/Central Asia. Why did the Ayatollahs come to power in Iran? Because the US helped overthrew Mossadeq, a democratically elected president, and installed the tyrant Shah. US needs to stop interfering in the Middle East/Central Asia/South Asia to take their resources.

    The Arab spring and the tension that exists throughout is the voice of the people who reject foreign interference.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  23. Hafeez Khan

    What a great man ,have a clear vision to win the war on terror .is there any mind who can understand the wisdom behind his vision.
    I will say he is the only hope not only for pakistan future,but as a mslim Ummah at large who has a real pain in his heart and care for the muslim world to come out from the suffering of the muslim all over the glob in this so called modren world as a true leader,who is telling american leaders to win hearts and mind of the muslim world ,he is brave no dought and honest.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  24. sonny

    Imran appears to be pretty ignorant when he speaks. The only reason the Taliban survive is because of the corrupt Pakistani Government, powerful Military and ISI that support the Taliban. STOP that support and no more Taliban.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  25. sadyal

    He is the man that we all americans can trust as well as pakistanis. Please please please give him a chance.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  26. Usman Sherazi

    This man is extremely comittted, dedicated and knows no rest untill he gets the job done. Keep up the good work IK as millions of your conutrymen are pinning their hopes on you.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  27. Cnab

    Imran Khan is not selfish. what he speak he speak with ground realities. He knows the solutions and he tells the agenda. Now its turn of Americans either they go with IK agenda or with other puppets & Corrupt Pakistani politicians. I know USA is also now looking to get out of this horrible fight in Afghanistan. My suggestion to Washington is to support a person who can bring peace and harmony in region after their departure. I am sure people will admire USA forces role if they do these things in right direction. I am not anti american. I am anti Taliban Pakistan. I support american positive role in development of pakistan. they are running lot of projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are spending lot of money, but still they are fail to win the hearts of people. Do they know why this is happening. Its not the reason with their polices. Only reason is they support corrupt politics in pakistan. I bet you if they support Imran Khan. People will support USA role and will remember them with good wishes.
    But the issue is Taliban and other forces which are anti pakistan and anti USA don't want that USA adopt such policy which is in favor of this region. They do such action which mades Super Power angry. and i do respect the super power role and its angry behavior of those stupid actions. But Now its time to move forward.
    Next USA president must needs to know this. That time is changing rapidly. If this time they support any corrupt pakistani politician. I bet you the super power is also at danger. Because this is the region if its disturb the whole world will be changed.
    We've border with China, India & Iran. this is very sensitive area. and Russians can't be friend of Americans or Pakistan.
    I just wanna tell to USA President that Sir Afghanistan was the region which we (USA & Pak) used to destroy RSSA. So better amercian save it role and i wish they remain super power for ages. but for that purpose they must need to follow peace process. Some minor changes in polices is needed Whole Muslim world why feeling fear from USA. its really not good for the future of USA.
    I wish nothing happen to them. But if they don't change then history tell that with lot of wealth and power, still nations can't survive for many. if they have lot of enemies. Better to have more friends rather then enemies. so try to reduce number of enemies one by one.... So the era of power last long

    October 11, 2012 at 12:08 am | Reply
  28. saif

    i dont want america to do this kind of things killing people and draw pictured with human blood even innocent so imran is doing good job.

    October 11, 2012 at 12:41 am | Reply
  29. Khan

    Imran is a charlatan. He doesn't know the basics of Pashtun history, culture and traditions. All those betting on him to be the saviour will lose and see the result in their lifetimes.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:58 am | Reply
  30. Mustafa Ahmed

    Imran Khan , best candidate for next prime minister of Pakistan! PTI all they way

    October 11, 2012 at 2:25 am | Reply
  31. Jalil Malik

    Omran Khan should be given a chance if Pakistan wants to get benifit of Democracy otherwise bloody revolution is waiting in Pakistan.

    October 11, 2012 at 3:53 am | Reply
  32. Mr Ali

    We need good and credible person in govt and that is Imran khan and his party. Only he could fix the mess going on right now. US and world will definitely listen to him.

    October 11, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
  33. Khalid Imtiaz

    Although the Long March of IK to Waziristan did not quite reach the point where it aimed to reach (KOT KAI) . Still the aim set was more than achieved, ie, to create awareness among the west through media the senselessness of the Drone Attacks on innocent population. About three thousand people have perished out of which only 179 (according to the US estimates)were those in the US hitlist of terrorists. Te voice has been effectivly raised thanks to the vourageous leadership of Imran Khan.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply
  34. Khalid Imtiaz

    Although the Long March of Imran Khan to Waziristan did not quite reach the point where it aimed to reach (KOT KAI) . Still the aim set was more than achieved, ie, to create awareness among the west through media the senselessness of the Drone Attacks on innocent population. About three thousand people have perished out of which only 179 (according to the US estimates)were those in the US hit list of terrorists. Te voice has been effectively raised thanks to the Courageous leadership of Imran Khan.

    October 11, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply
  35. Sohail

    only and may be the last hope to save the Pakistan.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  36. cheema

    @Tariq Yusafzai i've read all ur comments with attention and sincerly felt u have some personal problum with imran khan or his party .. a person with all his senses at place cant disagree with imran khan on war on terror and on tribal areas .

    October 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  37. cheema

    Why Children killed in Drones attacks never get such media coverage as Malala yousafzai got ? dont those children in FATA have any right to live . learn ? Why hundred of thousands babys killed by U.S armed forced dont get attention of international media ?

    October 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  38. DaPakiGuy

    Imran Khan is the last hope for Pakistan.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  39. imtiaz Niazi

    Imran Khan is an unbearded Taliban,he is a big time lier and will never be able to win more than 10 seats out of 342 seats.

    October 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  40. Aslam Khan

    PTI and Imran Khan has credability to resolve the issue because peoples of FATA trust him , peoples of Fata need leadership and trust between government and FATA . Imran could do it.

    October 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  41. Liberal

    lets give peace a chance .. lets give imran khan a chance ..

    October 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  42. Dr. Vijay Vaidya


    October 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Reply
  43. Abdul salam rahimy

    I was thinking the same like most of you but got disgusted when he said taliban should go to afghanistan since that is the place to do jehad because the americans are there. He says this when all of us in afghanistan are praying for life and good health of Malala. What he said is that he approves killing of young girls on the streets all over afghanistan by taliban. He just need your vote and the power. He dosent have a heart and no principle. Shame on cnn and amanpure for giving so much publicity and platform to this hypocrite.

    October 14, 2012 at 1:37 am | Reply
  44. Nasar

    IImran Khan is the only hope for Pakistan. All other politicians have been tried several times and they have failed miserably. These so-called leaders have done nothing else than looted the national wealth, have brought the country to miserly, disgrace and almost a collapse.
    We all wish and pray that Imran Khan succeeds. me and my family will vote for him in the next elections.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:09 am | Reply
  45. Dale Dunfee

    March 4, 2021 at 10:16 am | Reply
  46. Harry Pinales

    March 6, 2021 at 1:55 pm | Reply

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