Imran Khan cancelled participation Delhi Conclave because of Rushdie
By Tousif Khan - Thu Mar 15, 5:25 am
NEW DELHI: Pakistani cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan called off his Delhi visit on Wednesday because he did not want to participate in a conference that included Salman Rushdie.
In a media statement, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said Khan “cancelled his participation as keynote speaker in a conclave being held in New Delhi immediately on learning of Salman Rushdie’s participation in the same”. Khan founded the PTI more than 15 years ago.
“Khan expressed his regrets to the organizers but stated categorically that he could not even think of participating in any programme that included Salman Rushdie who has caused immeasurable hurt to Muslims across the globe,” the statement said.
Khan, the statement claimed, received and saw the full programme of the Conclave on Tuesday evening. He took action on Wednesday morning to cancel his participation.
He was to deliver the closing gala dinner keynote address, Captain Pakistan: The Ultimate Test on Saturday.
Rushdie was scheduled to speak on The Liberty Verses: I am what I am and That’s all I am on Friday moderated by author Aatish Taseer, son of slain Pakistan Punjab’s governor Salman Taseer.
Purie said in statement, “We wish that Imran had used this opportunity to express his views at the Conclave with all the force and lucidity that he possesses. We can all agree to disagree but we must present our argument.”
Analysts said Khan’s refusal to attend the Conclave could be spurred by his domestic political compulsions. His PTI, riding a popularity wave, is close to extremist outfits like the Pakistan Defence Council which is a coalition of about 30 religious groups, including banned ones.
In January, Khan had slammed Rushdie at the Kolkata Book Fair for inflicting pain on society. “First of all what is painful for a human community only the human community should decide…the issue is not what Rushdie wrote (in his novel The Satanic Verses).”