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Imran Khan
Imran Khan
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: IMRAN KHAN SEPTEMBER 16TH, 2001

DAVID FROST:
One country that's very nervous right now of course, as we've been hearing already this morning, is Pakistan, right on the border of Afghanistan where Osama Bin Laden is believed to be and there are fears that any military action against Afghanistan could also have very serious consequences for the whole region. Joining us live now from Islamabad is Imran Khan. Imran what is the situation of Pakistan, very uncomfortable I guess, if it's pledged its support anything that Americans want to do, they can do in Pakistan, what, what's going to be the impact of that?

IMRAN KHAN:
Well it's a no-win situation for Pakistan David, Pakistan has been coerced into it, given the opportunity it would have liked to have stayed neutral because it's not, either way it loses, if it hadn't joined the coalition and supported the Americans then it's already a bankrupt country, economic sanctions would have completely finished us off. Joining the Americans or allowing them the airspace means that the Taliban have already declared war on any country that does that. There are one million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, they are religious groups that support the Taliban regime and once the action starts and reports of, of citizens dying comes into this country or refugees start flooding in here, it's the only country they're going to come, then the reaction in this country's going to start building up and I'm afraid it's going to destabilise us.

DAVID FROST:
With a civil war, you mentioned that the government had been coerced into this support, would have preferred to be neutral, how will it coerce this, the Sunday Telegraph suggests that there was a threat to bomb them, to bomb Pakistan, to bomb the regime?

IMRAN KHAN:
Well we are, we are going to, all the heads of the political parties have been invited by President Muscharref this afternoon and we'll know exactly what, you know what led him to involve Pakistan into this because Pakistan really had nothing to do with any, any of this and yet it's, it's going to suffer the greatest fallout from, from this involvement. So he'll tell us, you know, what were the imperatives.

DAVID FROST:
Is there a danger, do you think, in the scale of America's reaction with all the right in the world behind them and that they could overdo it and endanger several other moderate Arab states who have become fundamentalist as well?

IMRAN KHAN:
There is a grave danger because there is very understandably tremendous anger in, in the United States for what has happened and there's a grave danger that they will over-react and bear in mind the Russians killed about a million Afghans, crippled about a million of them, they've never recovered from that, the Taliban are a consequence of that Russian butchery in Afghanistan and now when people here see more people being, Afghans being killed, you know they're already impoverished, I think there will be a, a reaction not only here but in, in a lot of the Muslim countries.

DAVID FROST:
John Simpson was just saying that he doesn't think that the Taliban are a very great fighting force and that the ordinary citizens of Afghanistan won't want to risk their lives fighting for the Taliban, do you think that's true?

IMRAN KHAN:
No one knows but once the, once the fighting starts then how the Afghans react, you know anyone knows, I mean, you know we don't know really, I think that you will see once, once the fighting starts.

DAVID FROST:
So at the moment it's, as you say, Pakistan is about to lose both ways?

IMRAN KHAN:
Well Pakistan is in a, in a terrible situation but you know David the important question is, most, most people have asked this question, that is this action going to stop terrorism because you know there are these people who have lost fear of dying and this is a small lot of people who are committing these suicide attacks, even in Israel. Now Israel has blasted them, it's done everything, the suicide attacks have not decreased, I think unless and until the question is asked, what is causing people to reach the stage of desperation where they lose, dying is better than living, unless those questions are answered I'm not sure whether this is going to finish off terrorism in the world.

DAVID FROST:
Imran thank you very much indeed for joining us. Thank you very much.

IMRAN KHAN:
Thank you.

END


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