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No Taliban and Al Qaeda threat to me: Imran Khan

Last updated on: February 28, 2012 15:14 IST

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Tuesday said slain former premier Benazir Bhutto had faced a threat from the Taliban and Al Qaeda because she had pledged to take action against the two groups but there is no similar danger to him.

"There was a danger to Benazir Bhutto from only one place, because she had come (back to Pakistan) saying that she would take action against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. So there was a threat to her from there," Khan, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party chief, told mediapersons at his residence in Lahore.

"I have been saying from day one that this is not our war and we should not have got involved in it. Therefore I have no problem from there," he said in response to a question.

Bhutto had vowed to act against the Taliban and Al Qaeda when she returned to Pakistan from self-exile in 2007. A little more than two months after her homecoming, she was killed by a suicide attacker shortly after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi.

During a recent briefing to the Sindh Assembly, Home Minister Rehman Malik said slain Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud was behind Bhutto's assassination and that the plot to kill her was hatched in a Deobandi madrassa in the country's restive northwest.

Khan, whose party has shaken established players in the political arena by organising a string of massive rallies and meetings across the country, has often called for Pakistan to pull out of the United States-led war against terrorism.

He has also called for talks with the Taliban and other militant groups, and offered to act as a mediator in parleys aimed at ending terrorism in Pakistan. Khan's detractors have criticised him for his soft approach towards the Taliban.

During his interaction with the media, Khan further said his party was now making inroads in rural areas after attracting followers in cities.

"In rural areas, people have a greater understanding of politics than in urban areas. They are helpless as it is the politics of police stations and courts. They don't vote for those who they think are good because of their fears, and they vote for the powerful," he said.

"When there is a movement which gives them hope that a change is coming, (they will act as) they have greater awareness because of the politics of courts and police stations which has enslaved them. The change started in cities but very quickly, it will go to the rural areas," he added.
PTI