Islamabad, 30 June 2021 (Dawn)
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday strongly emphasised that Pakistan could be “partners with the United States in peace but never in conflict” and criticised past policies that had led to Pakistan joining the US war on terror in Afghanistan.
He made the comments during a wide-ranging speech in the National Assembly, a day after the budget for the new fiscal year was approved with a majority vote.
“When we gave so many services, did they (US) praise us or acknowledge our sacrifices? Instead, they called us a hypocrite and blamed us. Instead of appreciating us, Pakistan was bad-mouthed.”
The prime minister said that as a Pakistani, he had never felt more “insulted” than when Pakistan decided to join the United States war on terror. “We decided to become a front line state for the American war on terror. I questioned repeatedly, what did we have to do with the war?”
He said he wanted the nation to remember that period forever and the “idiocy” of the policies at the time.
“Does any country get involved in another’s [war] and lose 70,000 lives?” he asked. “What they (US) said, we kept doing. [Former president Pervez] Musharraf said in his book that he took money and sent people to Guantanamo [Bay jail].
“The matter did not stop there, they (US) ordered us to send our army to tribal areas. We sent our army to tribal areas. They were our people. What was the result of that?” he questioned. “I was called Taliban Khan when I said this was wrong.”
The premier termed it the “darkest period of our history” when Pakistan did not know which was a friendly country and which was not. “Have you heard of a friendly country carrying out attacks and drone strikes in your country?” he asked.
“A terrorist is sitting in London since 30 years. Will they give us permission to attack him?” he questioned in an apparent reference to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain.
“If they will not give permission then why did we? Are we subhuman or half human or do our lives not have enough value?” he thundered.
The prime minister said that in a meeting of the US Senate, an American commander had claimed that the Pakistan government did “not tell the truth” to its citizens. “We disrespected ourselves, the world did not disrespect us.”
He said that overseas Pakistanis hid their faces after the raid by US Navy Seals in Abbottabad in which Osama Bin Laden was killed because “our ally did not trust us enough to carry out the attack.”
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