We are not a hired gun, Pakistan tells US

14 min read

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said Pakistan will no more fight anyone else’s war, nor will it be treated as a ‘hired gun’, and those who used to say ‘do more’ are today seeking Pakistan’s help in Afghanistan.

The prime minister reiterated that Pakistan wanted peace. However, he made it clear that there will be no compromise on national interest. He was addressing students belonging to Balochistan here.

Imran Khan noted that the condition of Muslims in today’s India proves manifestly that the demand for a separate homeland was justified. “The way Muslims are treated today in India has made people realise now why Pakistan came into being,” he said. He emphasised it was necessary for the youth to know what exactly had happened that the Quaid-i-Azam parted ways with the Congress and began the struggle for a separate homeland for the Muslims and initially he was opposed and subjected to attacks as well but the Quaid did not step back from his struggle for Pakistan.

Imran said Pakistan came into being because of the dynamic leadership qualities of the Quaid, as at that time, none was understanding the fact that one day Pakistan could come into existence but not without massive sacrifices and difficulties. And today, he noted, on seeing the condition of Indian Muslims, people now say that the Quaid’s ideology was correct. He added that the Quaid was our political leader and Allama Iqbal ideological leader and their thinking was that they would create such a country, which would become an example for the entire Muslim world.

The prime minister maintained that in a welfare state, law and justice was at the top for no society could excel without having law and justice in it. He added the state of Madina had great democratic principles and there was the rule of the law and the caliphs of the time were also answerable and all were equal before the law, and there was a merit-based system.

“We began with democratic principles and drifted towards monarchy while the West, which started with monarchy, moved towards democratic principles.” He continued that another principle of a welfare state was the system of Zakat, which was spent on the poor and it came up for the first time that whosoever owned more money would pay more tax and with this money the down-trodden segments were lifted, but what happened in Pakistan was quite opposite to it, and the rich became richer and the poor became poorer.

Imran said the areas that lagged behind in development were not paid due attention and rather the areas, which were already advanced, were paid more attention and hence the principles of the state ofpaid more attention and hence the principles of the state of Madina were not followed. He said the third major principle of the state of Madina was the constitution and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave first ever constitution: Meesaq-e-Madina (Charter of Madina), which envisaged rights for the minorities and it was a noble thought and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) also gave rights to women. “But we in Pakistan could not act upon these principles and even did not give women their inheritance right according to the Shariah. If we want to lift the state of Pakistan, we shall have to follow these very principles of the State of Madina,” he noted.

The prime minister assured the audience that the government would try to lift the backward areas, particularly Balochistan, and besides this, the women would get their right of inheritance for which legislation would be carried out shortly.

Imran said the one who believed that there was no God but Allah, he would never bow before anyone else and this very message was preached by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that there was a small state and it would never bow before anyone.

“We meted out injustice to Pakistan and gave an impression to other nations that if we did not help the super power, then we will not survive. Our leaders at that time gave this impression that if we will not become a part of anyone else’s war, then we will be destroyed. Today, we could not become a great country because we kept on begging and telling our people that if we did not fight the super power’s war then we would be destroyed,” he said.

“However, today, I want to make it very clear that we will neither fight someone’s war nor bow before anyone. Rather we shall seek peace with others,” the prime minister said. Pakistan, he said, was gifted with everything by Allah Almighty and the nation could become great one day, as ups and downs do come in the life of a nation. “But whenever the Muslims rose, they rose while following the principles laid down by the Holy Quran,” he said.

Meanwhile, in an interview to The Washington Post, Imran Khan dismissed the notion that he was involved in a Twitter war with US President Donald Trump and asserted that he would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a “hired gun”.

Imran commented on the Twitter exchange between him and the US president and said, “It was not really a Twitter war, it was just setting the record right. The exchange was about being blamed for deeply flawed US policies — the military approach to Afghanistan.”

When pointed out by the interviewer, Lally Weymouth, that Trump wasn’t blaming PM Imran but his predecessors, the premier said, “No, he was saying Pakistan was the reason for these sanctuaries (for Taliban leaders). There are no sanctuaries in Pakistan.”

Imran continued, “When I came into power, I got a complete briefing from the security forces. They said that we have time and time again asked the Americans, ‘Can you tell us where the sanctuaries are, and we will go after them?’ There are no sanctuaries in Pakistan.”

He added, “Our border between Pakistan and Afghanistan has the greatest amount of surveillance. The US has satellites and drones. These people crossing would be seen.” Regarding Trump’s letter to him earlier this week seeking help in the Afghan peace process, the PM said, “Peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest. We will do everything.”

Whether he will put pressure on the Taliban to come to the negotiating table, the cricketer-turned-politician said, “We will try our best. Putting pressure on the Taliban is easier said than done. Bear in mind that about 40 percent of Afghanistan is now out of the government’s hands.”

Responding to a question regarding his vision for Pakistan’s relationship with the US, Imran said, “I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun — given money to fight someone else’s war. We should never put ourselves in this position again. It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity. We would like a proper relationship with the US.”

He elaborated, “For instance, our relationship with China is not one-dimensional. It’s a trade relationship between the two countries. We want a similar relationship with the US.” When asked that some people think he’s trying to hedge his bets using China, the PM Imran said, “The US has basically pushed Pakistan away.”

On whether he thinks “Pakistan’s relationship with the US should warm up”, the premier responded, “Who would not want to be friends with a superpower?”

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