Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan recently interacted with a couple of reporters in Islamabad wherein he announced that his government has decided to disassociate with any armed militias that may have been connected to the Pakistani armed forces.
“We have decided, for the future of our country — forget the outside pressure — we will not allow armed militias to operate anymore,’’ he said.
“The Pakistan Army created them,’’ he said, referring to the 1980s when Pakistan and the United States backed Afghan Jihadi groups in Afghanistan against Soviet forces.
But, he added, “there is no use for these groups anymore.’’
With respect to India, he expressed that the country used to be “a very open society, but now, he feels he never thought that he would see “what is happening in India right now. Muslim-ness is being attacked.’’
Recently, the US designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity. Perhaps in connection to that, and the fact that the Pakistani army and especially their intelligence wing ISI has been perpetually associated with terror groups with their safe havens in Pakistani territory, Khan expressed that “We can’t afford to be blacklisted”.
He blamed Pakistan’s economic problems on his predecessors, especially the Sharif family, his political rivals.
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“You can’t have the ruling elite siphoning off money and taking it abroad,’’ he said. “If you don’t hold them accountable, the country has no future.’’
Mr. Khan said, “my first priority is to take 100 million people out of poverty.’’
Pakistan grapples with serious debt, for which it approached the IMF. It is a heavily remittance dependent country, and internal and external sectors are dwindling, with a huge chunk of population of the country living in abject poverty.