ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan only wants peace and don’t want to be part of any confrontation and urged the United States should first establish a political settlement before leaving Afghanistan.
In an interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios on HBO aired on Monday, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan has suffered the most due to the war against terrorism.
“Over 70,000 Pakistanis embraced martyrdom due to US-Afghan war. We have given sacrifices more than anybody else in this war.”
PM Imran Khan said, “We only want peace and don’t want to be part of any confrontation.” “Before leaving Afghanistan, the US must find a political solution,” he said. He noted that his country is currently hosting three million Afghan refugees.
Imran Khan has said that the West is ignoring the atrocities in Kashmir with hundreds and thousands of Kashmiris been killed by the Indian troops. “This is such a big issue in the western world as why are the people of Kashmir ignored,” the prime minister said.
The prime minister said the Kashmir issue was “much more relevant” where 800,000 Indian troops had literally put the nine million Kashmiris under jail. “Why is this not an issue? This is hypocracy,” he said, referring to the apathy of the West towards the plight of Kashmiri people facing the humanitarian crisis for decades.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in conversation with Jonathan Swan of ‘Axios on HBO’. On Islamophobia, the prime minister termed a “big communication gap” between the Islamic world and the western societies as the main reason.
He said after 9/11, the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ was coined that misguided people in the West who started believing that Islam led to terrorism. He pointed that with involvement of a few Muslims in terrorist activities, the entire 1.3 billion Muslim community became the target.
Asked about “doing vastly better than the United States” on COVID-19, the prime minister said partial lockdown coupled with comprehensive data analysis helped his government keep the pandemic in control. Smart lockdown was the “best decision” to cope with the situation, he added.
Imran Khan recalled that with people in Spain and Italy ending up in hospitals as COVID-19 raged through Europe, there was a big temptation by the politicians from Opposition for a total lockdown. However, he said, he opted for smart lockdown given the problems of poor.
He mentioned that an effective working of the Command and Control Centre with daily data monitoring and input by provinces, army, doctors and health specialists helped the government handle the situation.
Prime Minister Imran Khan categorically said that Pakistan would “absolutely not” allow any bases and use of its territory for any sort of action inside Afghanistan.
“Absolutely Not. There is no way we are going to allow any bases, any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not,” he said, in an earlier excerpt of the interview shared at HBO website.
The prime minister gave the response as the interviewer asked him if he would allow the American government to have CIA conduct counter-terrorism missions in Pakistan against Al-Qaeda ISIS or the Taliban.
Recently, in his address at Senate, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi ruled out the possibility of providing its military bases to the United States for counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan.
He rejected as unfounded the reports to this effect and made it clear that the government would never provide military bases to the US, nor would allow drone attacks inside Pakistan.
Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain in a cabinet press briefing had also ruled out the possibility of any airbase of the United States in Pakistan saying as all such facilities were under Pakistan’s own use.
He made it clear that it was the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government which ended ‘drone surveillance’ facility given to the US in the past.
“All the airbases are under the use of Pakistan. Right now, no negotiations in this regard are underway as Pakistan cannot give any airbase [to any country],” he said. NNI