“We’re not your ‘hired gun’ anymore,” PM Imran tells US leadership
Prime Minister Imran while giving an interview to The Washington Post candidly commented, “I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun — given money to fight someone else’s war.”
Sharing his vision about the relationship with the US, he said Pakistan will not be treated as a hired gun of the United States anymore. “We would like a proper relationship with the US,” he stressed.
Giving the instance of Pak-China ties, he said, “our relationship with China is not one-dimensional. It’s a trade relationship between two countries. We want a similar relationship with the US.”
The Washington Post inquired about people’s notion that the Pakistan’ government was trying to hedge its bets using China, to which PM Khan replied, “The U.S. has basically pushed Pakistan away.”
The premier turned down the impression of a Twitter war with US President Donald Trump, asserting that he tweeted in response to the US President to set the record right.
“The exchange was about being blamed for deeply flawed U.S. policies — the military approach to Afghanistan,” he added.
Responding to a question of American officials’ accusations of Pakistan harboring leaders of the Taliban, the premier remarked “I have never understood these accusations. Pakistan had nothing to do with 9/11. Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan. No Pakistani was involved. And yet Pakistan was asked to participate in the U.S. war.”
Recalling the end of Jihad against Soviet in 1989, he said, Pakistan was left with militant groups and 4 million Afghan refugees.
“If we had stayed neutral after 9/11, I reckon we would have saved ourselves from the devastation that took place afterward. By becoming the front-line state for the U.S. in the war on terror, this country went through hell,” PM Khan highlighted.
The prime minister referred to President Trump’s letter asking for assistance in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table and said “I talked for years about how there was no military solution in Afghanistan, and they called me ‘Taliban Khan’.”
Peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest, he continued, however, from Pakistan’s point of view, “we do not want the Americans to leave Afghanistan in a hurry like they did in 1989.”
Osama bin Laden killing
In a question related to the U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden and Khan dubbing it a “coldblooded murder,” he explained that it was not killing Osama bin Laden — it was rather “not trusting Pakistan.”
He added, “It was humiliating that we were losing our soldiers and civilians and [suffering terrorist] bomb attacks because we were participating in the U.S. war, and then our ally did not trust us to kill bin Laden.”