Islamabad, Jun 30 (PTI) Asserting that as a Pakistani, he had never felt more 'insulted' than when Pakistan decided to join America's war on terror in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said his country would be a “partner with the US in peace and never in conflict”.
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, Khan drew a clear line for future cooperation with the US, which he said would be based on cooperation unlike the Pak-US partnership in the war on terror after 9/11 that resulted in severe blowback in Pakistan.
'When we gave so many services, did they (the US) praise us or acknowledge our sacrifices? Instead, they called us a hypocrite and blamed us. Instead of appreciating us, Pakistan was bad-mouthed,' he said.
As a Pakistani, Khan said, he had never felt more 'insulted' than when Pakistan decided to join the US war on terror and suffered a lot in the process.
'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? 'Does any country get involved in another's war and lose 70,000 lives?' he asked.
What they (US) said, we kept doing,” the prime minister said, underlining that former military dictator Pervez Musharraf has admitted in his book 'In the Line of Fire: A Memoir' that he took money and sent 'our own' people to Guantanamo Bay.
'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.
Terming that phase as the 'darkest period of our history', Khan said Pakistan did not know which was a friendly country and which was not.
'Have you heard of friendly countries doing attacks and drone strikes in your country?' he asked, criticising the use of drones in Pakistan, which he said, created a lot of resentment.
'A terrorist has been sitting in London for 30 years. Will they give us permission to attack him?' he asked in an apparent reference to Altaf Hussain, the founder of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
Hussain, a British Pakistani politician, is known for his advocacy for Muhajir interests in Pakistan. He has been living in exile in Great Britain since the start of Operation Clean-up in 1992 in which the Pakistani government sent the military to Karachi to crack down on the MQM.
'If they (British) will not give permission, then why did we? Are we subhuman or half human or do our lives not have enough value?' he asked.
Talking about the killing of Osama bin Laden, Khan said overseas Pakistanis hid their faces after the raid by US Navy Seals in Abbottabad in which the founder of the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation was killed because 'our ally did not trust us enough to carry out the attack'.
Khan said peace in Afghanistan is important for Pakistan to build economic linkages with the Central Asian states. “We neither want any strategic depth nor do we have any favourites or parties in Afghanistan,” he said.
He said that it is good that the US has recognised that war was not a solution to the Afghan problem because the Afghans never accepted any kind of interference from outside.
Khan said after deciding that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and setting an exit date, the US wanted Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table.
'What leverage do we have? We can only tell them that if you go (towards military activity) then there will be civil war.' The Taliban has intensified attacks against Afghan government forces since May 1 when the US-led international forces formally began their withdrawal from the country. PTI SH SCY AKJ SCY