BRUSSELS: Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir says the United States is blaming Pakistan for its own failures in Afghanistan over the past sixteen years.
In an interview with Belgium’s National TV and Radio in Brussels, he said Pakistan is fencing its 2600 kilometers long border with Afghanistan to get rid of the blame game. He said Pakistan will face unrest as long as the situation is unstable in Afghanistan.
The interview was carried as one of the three main stories in the 8’o clock news program Terzake. The VRT also aired the interview on radio and published a written article on its website.
In the context of situation in Afghanistan Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan said “A lot of blame game has come to Pakistan.
Khurram Dastgir said we expect the Europeans to convey our point of view to the Americans who are at the moment not very receptive to Pakistan. He said internal security situation in Pakistan has greatly improved and the country is the fastest growing consumer market in the world at the moment.
It is one of the reasons why we have now begun to fence the border. And it is very interesting: now that we say Ok you blame us that we send people across or that some people are crossing over, we will fence the whole 2600 kilometres. But once we have begun to fence, we have done almost well 250 kilometres already, no-one is helping us.”
He said “The Americans are choosing to blame Pakistan for their sixteen year old failure in Afghanistan. They have spent a trillion dollars; they have sacrificed thousands of soldiers, many more injuries. And even now, nearly 45% of Afghanistan is outside the government’s control.” The minister warned, as long as the situation is unstable in Afghanistan, there will remain unrest in Pakistan.
In reply to a question on Pak- Us relations the minister said “We expect the Europeans to convey our point of view to the Americans who are at the moment not very receptive to Pakistan’s point of view; it is to say that again let’s keep the eyes on the prize, as the Americans say. And the prize is a stable democratic Afghanistan.”
On the internal security situation of Pakistan the Minister said “Well the internal security situation is massively improved. There is no other word for it. I think we have performed a near miracle. So, the whole of Pakistan is now peaceful. We still get some terrorist incidents. But largely, the incidents of terror are down by 80% from their peak in 2012”. He added “The murdering of 142 children in Army Public School in 2017 cleared the mind of the people of Pakistan. These were not religious people, these were not anti-American crusaders, these were not nationalist people. They were just evil people who wanted to hurt Pakistan”.
Talking about improvement in Pakistan’s economic situation Khurram Dastgir Khan was of the view: “Pakistan is the fastest growing consumer market in the world at the moment. There is a lot of interest from international retailers, food outlets, and companies who want to tap Pakistan’s consumer market. As I said, the infrastructure is coming in, and Pakistan is finally, we believe, at the threshold of utilising its potential because of its very strategic geographical location. It is something that has given us more trouble in our history. But now finally because of the China-Pakistan economic corridor and the investment that is coming in, that we are about to exploit its potential.” NNI