India must abandon nuclear weapons: PM
Pakistan peace, stability requires good ties with neighbours: Imran
Prime Minister Imran Khan has said nuclear war is not an option and India must abandon its nuclear weapons. In an interview with Fox News here, he said if India complies with this demand Pakistan will also not use nuclear weapons. He said Pakistan has a comprehensive and effective nuclear command and control system. Imran Khan said the armed forces of Pakistan are professional forces and are fully capable of dealing with every challenge.
Prime Minister said the United States is the only country which can play a role of mediator between India and Pakistan to resolve the issue of Kashmir. He said that prisoner swap issue could be discussed with the United States. He said Pakistan and the United States were important allies in the war on terror and both the countries suffered loss due to mistrust in the past.
Prime Minister said that only elections could bring peace in Afghanistan as the United States has been fighting a war in the country for the last four decades but failed to bring peace in the war torn country. Talking about US-Iran standoff, the Prime Minister said that it could affect the peace and economy of the region.
In his keynote address at the United States Institute of Peace, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan needs stability and peace and that requires good relations with neighbours. He said he reached out to India after coming into power. But whenever relationship with India starts moving towards normalcy, a sporadic incident again derails it. Imran Khan said he offered Indian leadership to start trade to overcome the main problem of poverty in both the countries.
The Prime Minister said he also extended a hand of friendship towards Afghanistan. Pakistan, he said, believes there is no military solution to Afghan conflict and there is convergence of views between Pakistan, US and other countries on resolving the conflict in Afghanistan. Referring to relations with the US, he said Pakistan fought the war on terror as a frontline state and sacrificed seventy thousand lives to counter this menace.
There was a perception in Pakistani people that they had been fighting the US war. He said despite this we were accused by the US that we were not sincere and rather playing a double game. Imran Khan said Pakistan has sincerely tried to bring Taliban to the negotiation table with the Afghan government representative. He said if we all work together the dream of realization of peace in Afghanistan can be achieved.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has emphasized that corruption of ruling elite is the leading cause of poverty of nations and Pakistan is facing the same dilemma. He said money swindled through corruption is taken abroad, making the country bankrupt. Consequently, the number of poor people, lack of basic facilities and other problems increase in the country.
Imran Khan said when the ruling elite is involved in corruption, it deliberately destroys the state institutions so that there is no check on their corrupt practices. He said stolen money can be recovered but it takes quite a time to rebuild the destroyed institutions. When questioned on media freedom in Pakistan, the prime minister said he was the beneficiary of media coverage and limelight and he in no way could become hurdle in freedom of expression. There is no question of Pakistan clamping down on media.
Imran Khan told a questioner that minorities enjoy complete freedom in the country and any steps taken to protect their rights are not under any pressure from outside. Rather, they are equal citizens of the country.
Prime Minister said that the Pakistani nation has rendered 70,000 sacrifices in war against terrorism as a high price of Afghan war but it failed to build firm confidence between Islamabad and Washington. I have always adopted the stance that Afghan issue could be resolved through dialogues. I’ve also asked everyone in the United States that there is no military solution to the issue. US nationals were not aware of the history of Afghanistan, he added.
The premier said, at this moment, Pakistan and US ties are on its best level and both countries have a similar stance on the Afghan issue. It happens for the first time that the Pakistani government, US administration and security institutions are on the same page. We could have found a solution with consensus although it is not an easy task. While commenting over his meeting with the US President, PM Khan said, it was a pleasant experience to meet Donald Trump and his hospitality was praiseworthy.