Imran Khan’s recent interview to Aljazeera has venerated the opinion of all those who thought that if elected, he has nothing in the way of policy to curb extremism in the country. The most startling revelation in this interview was his opinion on the blasphemy law, which he does not think needs amending. Among other things, the PTI Chief also attempted to clarify his stance on the Taliban and terrorists in general, which he saw as the problem, but did not think that legislation could do anything to curb its influence on the country.

There is speculation that the PTI Chief took no clear stance on this issue because of the threat it poses to anyone who makes a clear statement about it, but is this really the reason? Mr Khan’s provincial government is very close to the religious right in KPK and could be a force for progressive change. Rather than be silent, the former cricketer can take a moderate stand and become a bridge between the left and the right. But subtlety and diplomacy have never been his strong suit.

Imran Khan’s non-committal response to the blasphemy issue is not surprising. He has spent his political career making mountains out of molehills while the real issues are waved aside. According him, the blasphemy law is not a problem but extremism is. He does not see the two as connected, which is strange, considering that no extremist will ever be on the wrong end of this law. His political perspective features a policy of picking and choosing whatever comes easiest, and the most perfect example of this is the decision to fund Darul-uloom-Haqqania and the subsequent defence. After claiming that he was not aware of the decision to grant funds, he stated that there was nothing wrong with this because if the seminary promoted extremism, someone would have shut it down by now. The flaws in this argument do not even warrant a response.

This sort of duplicity is reflective of the overall mindset of the PTI Chief, where he will say anything and contradict himself all the time to try and appease everyone, from the conservative to the liberal. The blasphemy law is a contentious issue no doubt, but mainstream politicians are the only ones that can ensure that it is revised to stop it being misused.

If Imran Khan wants to support religious parties to maintain control of KPK, that is his prerogative. But the issues he highlights pale in comparison to the biggest one, that of extremism. And if Mr Khan and his party cannot steer the country away from extremism in the case that he gets elected, any change he promises to bring will only be a negative one.