VIEW: Who is Imran fooling? ?Ayesha Ijaz Khan
Imran Khan continues to mislead. I cannot help but wonder if he can even relate to the troubles many Pakistanis and Muslims would encounter in being forcibly removed from Britain if the Conservative Party was to have its way
The other night I tuned into the Nadia Khan Show as a change from the political shows I usually watch. Lo and behold, her guest was Imran Khan, and I decided to watch the show anyway. Imran urged all Pakistanis and Muslims in Britain to support Zac Goldsmith?s candidacy in Britain?s upcoming elections. Imran claimed that Zac, who is Imran?s ex-brother-in-law, is an anti-war candidate and had in fact paid for the television screens at the anti-war rally at Trafalgar Square prior to the Iraq War, and thus must be supported by the Muslims.
Unfortunately, the show was a re-run and I could not call in. Otherwise, I would have loved to ask Mr Khan how exactly Zac became a Conservative Candidate if he is so anti-war? For those unfamiliar with British politics, let me reproduce the party-based Iraq War vote count in the House of Commons: 139 Conservative Party candidates voted for the war, while only 15 opposed it; 244 Labour Party candidates voted for the war, while only 69 opposed it; but all 63 Liberal Democrat Party candidates voted against the war, with none supporting it. It is therefore clear that the Conservative Party is the most pro-war, as only 9.7 percent of its candidates opposed the war, in comparison to 22 percent of the Labour candidates and 100 percent of the Liberal Democrat candidates, thus making the Liberal Democrats the only anti-war party of the three mainstream parties.
Interestingly, Zac Goldsmith?s opponent in the Richmond Park constituency, from where he intends to contest the election, is Susan Kramer, the incumbent from the Liberal Democrat Party. Yet Imran Khan continues to mislead. He urges Muslims in Britain to support parties and candidates who would look out for their interests, much as the Jewish lobby does in the US. In case Mr Khan does not know this, Muslims in the West are already doing this. Their lobbies may not be as organised but most Muslims do tend to vote for parties and candidates who take clear anti-war positions and liberal immigration positions. The Conservative Party that Zac Goldsmith has joined is not that party.
After hearing Imran?s appeal on that show, I decided to log onto Zac Goldsmith?s website, and see for myself whether it was really possible for a Conservative Party candidate to take a clear anti-war position, markedly different from the party line. Nowhere on Zac Goldsmith?s website is he advertising his anti-war credentials, or even mentioning paying for the television screens at the anti-war rally. In fact, to my horror, under the heading ?Where do I stand,? Zac Goldsmith has the following to say about immigration:
?The government has effectively lost control of our borders. Many people appear to be able to enter (and leave) Britain without being subjected to proper scrutiny...My own view is that the very high levels of immigration we have seen in recent years is harmful and cannot be sustained...The government needs to bring the situation firmly under control, remove those with no legal right to be here.?
Since many Pakistanis and Muslims, especially those who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, would be adversely affected by Zac Goldsmith?s stated policy, I cannot help but wonder if Imran Khan can even relate to the troubles they would encounter in being forcibly removed from Britain if the Conservative Party was to have its way.
Zac Goldsmith has been reported on in the British press for a variety of reasons including being expelled from school at the age of 17 because cannabis was allegedly found in his room, for having one of the costliest divorces in Britain, for avoiding millions of Pounds in British taxes by maintaining ?non-domicile? status through offshore trusts set up by his father, and for rearing pigs at his organic farm in Devon.
Of all the reasons that Zac Goldsmith has made the news, the only feather in his cap is his commitment to the environment. Zac is an enthusiastic campaigner for making the planet green and reducing carbon footprints. Although this is an admirable cause, it is not one that has much support among downtrodden Muslim communities in Britain, for whom lax immigration and just foreign policy would take clear precedence.
Imran Khan has stated that Zac is like a younger brother to him, and Muslims and Pakistanis should support him because Imran has checked him out and endorsed him. Does Imran really think that the Muslims in Britain are so illiterate and unaware that they would not delve into what Zac Goldsmith really stands for and simply take Imran?s word for it?
The writer has worked for American and Pakistani law firms and currently writes as a political analyst based in London. Website: www.ayeshaijazkhan.com