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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Imran Khan warns of 'human catastrophe'
Imran Khan
Imran Khan: "The bombing is unjust and unethical."
Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan's Movement for Justice Party, has spoken of a sense of "helplessness" felt in his country as the war against the Taleban continues.

And he said rising numbers of civilian casualties in Afghanistan would breed "hatred and anger" against the United States.

Speaking to BBC Radio WM, Mr Khan, the chairman of Tehreek-e-Insaaf, said the bombing of innocent civilians in Afghanistan was "unjust and unethical".

He said he did not know how long President Pervez Musharraf could contain the demonstrations against the US bombing.

I don't think people have any idea how many people, women and children, are going to die because of the weather

Imran Khan

"Let me tell you none of us have any idea where we are heading.

"In Pakistan there's a feeling of complete helplessness, that we are no longer in control," he told the Birmingham-based radio station.

"We are held prisoners of the events in Afghanistan right now."

The Pakistani cricket star turned politician said he felt the US should have resisted the temptation to take military action against the Taleban.

"Perhaps if the Americans had waited and with the pressure that had built up, we felt the Taleban was collapsing."

He said: "It's very difficult to convince the people here that here is this huge superpower and here are these impoverished people, probably the most impoverished people in the world who have suffered 20 years of war.

"It's very difficult for the people not to sympathise with them against the United States."

Imran Khan's election poster
Tehreek-e-Insaaf election poster

Mr Khan, who turned to politics after a personal crusade to raise money for a cancer hospital in Pakistan, said he was concerned most about the onset of winter.

"The worst thing is that the winter of Afghanistan is extremely severe and once the winter comes these people that are bombed and on the roadside as refugees, the human catastrophe is going to be immense.

"I don't think people have any idea how many people, women and children, are going to die because of the weather and because of the dislocation.

"We are looking at a situation where to get one man a lot of human beings are going to be killed."

He said the tide of sympathy for the United States following the events of 11 September would begin to turn against them if civilians continued to suffer.

"Terrorism is bred when there is hatred and anger and I'm afraid that if a lot of civilians are killed there will be a lot more hatred and anger against the United States."

See also:

15 Oct 01 | South Asia
Pakistan urges US caution
15 Oct 01 | South Asia
Kabul hit by heavy daylight raids
15 Oct 01 | South Asia
US military 'missed' Taleban leader
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