Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in a recent interview to Washington Post expressed his thoughts on the ongoing seemingly soft feud between Washington and Islamabad.
“It was not really a Twitter war, it was just setting the record right. [Khan wrote on the site this fall: “He needs to be informed abt historical facts. Pak has suffered enough fighting US’s war. Now we will do what is best for our people & our interests.”] The exchange was about being blamed for deeply flawed U.S. policies — the military approach to Afghanistan”. US President Trump and Khan recently had a bit of a spat on Twitter.
“I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun given money to fight someone else’s war,” Khan said, referring to the 1980s war against the Soviet Union and the ongoing war on terror.
“It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity,” he said.
In September, the Trump administration cancelled USD 300 million military aid to Islamabad for being complacent against terror.
Last month, Trump also irked Pakistan once again, expressing that Pakistan has “has not done a damn thing” for America in combating terrorism.
When asked to elaborate on the ideal nature of relationship that he would like to have with Washington, Khan explained-“For instance, our relationship with China is not one-dimensional. It’s a trade relationship between two countries. We want a similar relationship with the US,” thus denoting that a multi-pronged bilateral relationship is possible.
The prime minister said Pakistan was not “hedging” towards China, rather it was Washington’s attitude which had brought a change in the bilateral relationship.
Responding to claims by some that Khan is an ‘anti-US’ leaded, he said “This is a very imperialistic approach. ‘You’re either with me or against me’.”
When asked if he wanted relations between Pakistan and the US to “warm up”, Khan responded: “Who would not want to be friends with a superpower?”
This week, Khan said President Trump wrote to him, seeking Pakistan’s help in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table to end the 17-year-long war in Afghanistan.
Khan, who has long been critical about Pakistan’s role in the war on terror, said his country wants “peace with all”.
“Thank (God) that today, the same people who were asking to do more are now asking us to help them in Afghanistan, to establish peace and to negotiate,” he said.
He emphasised that Islamabad did not want the US to leave Afghanistan in a hurry as they did in 1989.
“The last thing we want is to have chaos in Afghanistan. There should be a settlement this time. In 1989, what happened was the Taliban emerged out of the chaos,” he said.
Khan condemned the 2011 covert US operation in Abbottabad that killed Al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, who was hiding in the Pakistani garrison city. He said “It was humiliating that we were losing our soldiers and civilians and [suffering terrorist] bomb attacks because we were participating in the US war, and then our ally did not trust us to kill bin Laden”.
Khan also dismissed US’ allegations that there were safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan, saying that the security forces had briefed him on the matter and told him that they had asked Washington “time and time again” to point out where the sanctuaries are.
Khan did not defy claims regarding possibility of some Afghan Taliban, “maybe 2,000 to 3,000” crossing the border under the guise of refugees and residing in camps.