- Says there is a misconception in Afghanistan, which is based on Indian propaganda, that Pakistan is controlled by military institutions
- India does not want peace because it is at present under the influence of RSS ideology, adds PM Imran
Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that peace in Afghanistan will give Pakistan access to the Central Asian countries.
Talking to a delegation of the Pak-Afghan Youth Forum in Islamabad on Thursday, Imran said that the future economic policies of Pakistan depended on peace in Afghanistan.
To a question, Imran said that Pakistan cannot be held "responsible" for the actions of the Taliban in the aftermath of US and its allies' ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan, adding that his government is not a spokesperson for the militant group.
"What the Taliban are doing or aren't doing has nothing to do with us. We are not responsible, neither are we spokespersons for the Taliban."
PM Imran said that Pakistan had nothing to do with why 150,000 NATO troops did not succeed in Afghanistan. "It's exactly like what the Americans did in Vietnam. When they failed in Vietnam, they blamed insurgents from Cambodia or Laos."
He said that Pakistan was told at one point that the Taliban's main sanctuaries were in North Waziristan. "The kept pushing us to take action. Finally after four or five years, we took action [but] one million people were internally displaced [...] what difference did it make?"
He said that the Americans should have spoken to the Taliban from a position of strength. "When there were 150,000 NATO troops, that was the time to talk to [the Taliban]. How can they expect the Taliban to compromise when an exit date has been given and a few thousand troops are left?"
To another question, the prime minister said unfortunately, there is a misconception in Afghanistan, which is based on Indian propaganda, that Pakistan is controlled by military institutions.
He said that Pakistan has always desired peace with India, but it is India that does not want peace because it is at present under the influence of RSS ideology.
The premier said that not only are the Kashmiris being mistreated but Muslims and people of other faiths and minorities, too, are mistreated. Such actions are the main hurdles in the way of peace with India, he added.
Imran said that Pakistan’s efforts in Afghan peace process have been appreciated on the international forum and endorsed by US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad.
Imran Khan said that his foreign policy is based on his party’s 25-year-old manifesto, adding that he has a consistent view that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict, which could only be resolved through political means.
The prime minister maintained that being the party head for the last 15 years as well as being the head of government for the last three years, he had the same stance on Afghanistan, and military institutions are fully supportive of the government’s view.
He said Pakistan will neither hold any talks with India nor will accept Indian participation in the Afghan peace process till the August 5, 2019 action is reversed and the status of the Illegally Indian Occupied Kashmir is restored under which Kashmiris have the right of self-determination as per UN Resolutions.
He said that recent statements from Afghan leaders blaming Pakistan for the crisis are unfortunate because it is Pakistan that made efforts to convince the Taliban first for talks with the United States and then with the Afghan government.
To a question about the promotion of sports in Afghanistan, especially cricket, the premier said that no country in history, except Afghanistan, had achieved so much progress in a short period of time.
The position at which Afghanistan stood at the moment in cricket has been realized by other countries in 70 years, he remarked, adding that the main reason behind this success was Afghan refugees in Pakistan learning the game.