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In 2005, Imran Khan had instigated violent riots in many Muslim countries over a fake claim made in a news magazine, read details

"This is what the U.S. is doing," declaimed Khan, "desecrating the Qur'an." His remarks whipped up a religious frenzy in Pakistan, the outrage expressed by Muslim clerics and Pakistani government officials were picked up on local radio and played throughout neighbouring Afghanistan.

While continuing the Pakistani tradition of always blaming external factor for their abject miseries, Pakistan PM Imran Khan recently berated the United States for unleashing the scourge of terrorism that continues to plague the country.

In what appeared as an attempt to warm up to the terror ranks functional in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan exalted the status of slain Al-Qaeda terrorist Osama Bin Laden to that of a ‘martyr’ and lamented that Washington had betrayed the trust of Islamabad by not informing it about the plan to eliminate the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks. In a thinly veiled criticism of the United States, the Pakistan PM, during his speech in the parliament, denounced its foreign policies and asserted that Pakistan has been blamed for every foreign policy failure of the US in the region.

However, while Pakistan PM Imran Khan appears to ingratiate himself with the terror elements operating in Pakistan, it is pertinent to recount the days when he was responsible for touching off riots in many countries in the Muslim world.

When Imran Khan started riots all over the Islamic world over a fake story

In 2005, as an opposition leader and a strident critic of then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, Imran Khan convened a press conference and brandished a copy of Newsweek(dated May 9, 2005) which had carried a report stating that officials in Guantanamo Bay, the infamous US prison known for hardened terrorists, had allegedly insulted and desecrated the Quran as a way of humiliating the prisoners.

The Newsweek, in its article, had alleged that government sources had confirmed that United States personnel at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp had deliberately desecrated a copy of the book by flushing it in a toilet in order to torment the prison’s Muslim captives. However, some parts of the reports were later retracted and a week later Newsweek had admitted in its article that it had got its facts wrong on a story alleging that American military interrogators had damaged copies of the Qur’an.

A deadly wave of riots engulfed much of the Islamic region in the Middle East after then opposition leader, Imran Khan, held a press conference admonishing the United States for a report that said interrogators at Guantanamo prison had placed the Qur’an on toilet seats and even flushed one. The Newsweek, in its yet another article, chalked up the cause of the riots to Imran Khan’s press conference, saying that the “spark was apparently lit at a press conference held by Imran Khan”.

In his press conference, Imran Khan had basically implied that the USA’s war on terrorism is a war against Islam.

Imran Khan had instigated riots in Pakistan and Afghanistan

“This is what the U.S. is doing,” declaimed Khan, “desecrating the Qur’an.” His remarks whipped up a religious frenzy in Pakistan, the outrage expressed by Muslim clerics and Pakistani government officials were picked up on local radio and played throughout neighbouring Afghanistan. Violent riots ensued thereafter which swept much of the Arab world, from Gaza in the Middle East to Indonesia in Southeast Asia. Protesters registering their fury over the perceived indignity meted out to their Holy Book, burnt government buildings, ransacked the offices of relief organisations in several Afghan provinces, sending a visible shiver of presentiment down the US officials’ spines, forcing them to reassess the stability of the moderate regimes in the Middle East.

In Afghanistan alone, 17 people had died and over 100 were injured. In Badakhstan, a council of Islamic clerics declared Jihad against the USA. Several government offices and the offices of international aid agencies were gutted by the frenzied Islamic rioters. Violent riots had happened in Arab nations, Indonesia and Gaza over the blatant fake news that was retracted and regretted by Newsweek later.

Imran Khan, when asked bout the Newsweek’s retraction, had stated that the media outlet had acted irresponsibly.

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Jinit Jain
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