Imran Khan and the arrogance of U.S. power

Imran Khan, a former Pakistan cricket star, has gone into politics and may well be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.  HE was interviewed in August by The Economist about his political views in the video above.

Last week, on his way to a political meeting in New York City, he was detained by U.S. immigration officials and interrogated for about 30 minutes concerning his opposition to U.S. drone attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan.   He missed his flight, but was allowed to continue.

A couple of things strike me about this.  First, Imran Khan’s political opinions are no great mystery.  Anybody with access to Google or YouTube can find them in a hurry.  Second, what was did the immigration official think he was accomplishing by harassing and insulting a foreign leader?  Did the official think he had the power to make Imran Khan mend his ways?  I don’t know which is worse—to think that this reflected some high level decision in Homeland Security, or that some low level official thought that this was within his discretion, and nobody called him to account.

In the total scheme of things, there are many worse violations of human rights than Imran Khan being questioned at the Toronto airport.  But it is an example of an attitude by American officials toward the rest of the world that has generated a bad backlash, and is certain to create a worse backlash in the years ahead.

Click on Imran Khan detained and ‘interrogated over drone views’ by US immigration for Glenn Greenwald’s report for Britain’s The Guardian.

Click on Outrage over CIA’s deadly ‘double tap’ drone attacks for a report in Britain’s The Independent.


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