A MESSAGE TO IMRAN KHAN

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW OF IMRAN KHAN, PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN, GIVEN TO AL JAZEERA, PUBLISHED ON 14TH SEPTEMBER, 2019.

“When two nuclear armed countries fight, if they fight a conventional war, there is every possibility that it is going to end up into nuclear war. The unthinkable.” “If say Pakistan, God forbid, we are fighting a conventional war, we are losing, and if a country is stuck between the choice: either you surrender or you fight till death for your freedom, I know Pakistanis will fight to death for their freedom. So when a nuclear armed country fights to the end, to the death, it has consequences.” “So that’s why we have approached the United Nations, we are approaching every international forum, that they must act right now, because this is a potential disaster that would go way beyond the Indian subcontinent.”

A child gets hold of a knife.
A disgruntled employee brandishes a gun, menacing fellow workers.
A hijacker seizes a plane; makes demands.
A suicidal person climbs on to the ledge of a high-rise building, threatening to jump.
A terrorist bares a chest mounted suicide vest in a crowded marketplace, intent upon blowing himself and many others into oblivion.
A deranged man commandeers a school bus and threatens a massacre.

We have all experienced these situations, both in real life and in movies.
We know what happens.
The sequence is boringly repetitive.
Skilled negotiators arrive at the scene. These are highly trained professionals; masters of the art of threat mitigation.
As they negotiate, other superbly competent professionals position themselves for more drastic, more destructive actions that will terminate the threat.
There are only two outcomes.
Negotiations succeed, the perpetrator is arrested and dealt with most severely.
Negotiations fail, SWAT teams move in and eliminate the threat.
No blackmailer or hostage taker has ever emerged victorious.

Imran Khan, have you never seen this happen in real life? Have you never even watched the relevant movies? By threatening nuclear war, you may have gained the world’s attention temporarily, but do you not know what happens next? There is a process that has to follow. The ‘Negotiators’ will move in. Theirs is an art that you cannot even begin to comprehend. They will pamper, cosset, cajole, sweet talk you into submission even as others plan more direct, more severe actions. You will bask in the glory of global attention until the situation is defused. Make no mistake. One way or another, it will be diffused. You will never be allowed to carry out your threat of ‘losing a conventional war and exercising the nuclear option’ as you so emphatically and repeatedly broadcast to a stunned world.

Imran Khan, jingoistic chest beating, brash declarations, threatening dire consequences may work well from the top of a makeshift platform atop a container in a local setting with an adulating, emotional audience chanting below but these have no meaning on the world stage. All that your foolhardy and irresponsible threats have done is to remind the world that its trust in a juvenile nation was misplaced. An embarrassed global community yet again confronts an immature nation threatening world peace and it must now take steps to ensure that this is never repeated.

Mr. Prime Minister, do you have any idea of the disaster you have engineered for our Nation? Do you have any understanding of what your bluster and theatrics have really achieved? You have destroyed an image built painstakingly over two decades that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear power. You have once again reminded the world that in the privileged club of adult nuclear weapon states, Pakistan is an irresponsible, unreliable and unwelcome juvenile.

You should have watched the movies. You could even have remembered the idioms we learnt growing up. “Speak softly but carry a big stick.” “Silence is golden.” “Empty vessels make the most sound.” “Look before you leap.” There are many more.

You did neither. But that is not the real problem. The real tragedy is that there is no one in Pakistan to counsel you and stop you from threatening the world with a nuclear winter.

15th September, 2019