(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWS AGENCY ‘DAWN’)
US President Donald Trump has no understanding of the South Asian region, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday as he strongly criticised Washington’s recently-revealed South Asia policy.
A day earlier, Trump had announced his long-awaited South Asia policy, calling for greater troop deployment and Indian involvement in Afghanistan. In his speech, the US president had also lambasted Pakistan for offering safe havens to “agents of chaos”.
Addressing the press on Wednesday, Imran spoke about various elements of Washington’s new policy.
“Grave allegations have been made against Pakistan,” Khan said, referring to accusations made by Trump.
Khan said that the allegations signalled that Trump has “no understanding of the South Asian region or the dynamics of the ‘war on terror'” as he pointed out the sacrifices Pakistan has made in the fight.
The PTI chairman further questioned the role allotted to India in Afghanistan in the policy.
He said that while Pakistan has made sacrifices and fought a war “that is not ours,” India has been asked to become involved even though it does not share a border with Afghanistan.
“Pakistan got involved in the [war] even though not a single Pakistani was involved in 9/11. Al Qaeda was in Afghanistan. It was not necessary for [Pakistan] to get involved in this war [as it was] not at fault,” Khan said.
The PTI chief further questioned why Pakistan was being held responsible for America’s policy failures in Afghanistan.
“Over 150, 000 Nato soldiers were deployed in Afghanistan [by America], billions were spent, thousands of Afghans were killed. The world’s most powerful military machinery could not control [the situation in Afghanistan] and Pakistan is being held responsible for the failures,” Khan said.
He asked what America would accomplish by deploying thousands more troops in Afghanistan when those already stationed there had not been able to win the war.
Khan also referred to Trump’s statement that “billions and billions” of dollars have been spent on Pakistan.
He said that the amount spent by Washington on Pakistan is minuscule in comparison to the losses Pakistan has suffered in the war against terror.
Khan also criticised Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the Foreign Office for not putting out a strong statement in response to Trump’s “serious” allegations against the country.
“There has been no statement from the prime minister or the Foreign Office. Instead, China has come to Pakistan’s defense and issued a statement,” Khan said, calling on Abbasi to “send a strong message to the Americans”.
The Foreign Office had, in fact, put out a statement Tuesday night.
Khan also called on Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership to send a unanimous message to Washington that Trump’s statements are “unacceptable”.
The PTI chief further called for the holding of a special parliament session so that a consensus may be developed by the country’s leadership on the matter.
He said that his party has filed an adjournment motion in the National Assembly for this purpose.