14 May, 2021

Deadly Bouncers

Literary star vs erstwhile cricketing great

AFP (From Outlook, April 02, 2012)
Deadly Bouncers

Pakistan’s prime minister aspirant, Imran Khan, has been called many things—isi agent, Zionist lobbyist, Taliban Khan. After he turned down an invitation to attend an event in New Delhi where he’d have had to share the dais with Salman Rushdie, the former cricketer and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) earned himself another epithet: ‘chicken’. While many applauded his boycott of Rushdie, others asked why he couldn’t have been brave enough to present his views on neutral ground? Rushdie used the occasion to full advantage to take on Imran. He said he resembled Muammar Gaddafi, was a dictator-in-waiting, and would do better to speak of the “immeasurable hurt” caused by fanatics like those who killed Aatish Taseer’s father.

Imran kept avoiding journalists in Pakistan, saying he wouldn’t dignify Rushdie with a response. But caught unawares by Hamid Mir in a live TV interview on an entirely different subject, he responded, with an embarrassed grin: “India...

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