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Don’t want CIA bases in Pakistan, reiterates PM Imran Khan

  • US’ war on terror ‘bankrupted’ Pakistan
  • Rapists solely responsible for rape
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By Hamid Khan Wazir

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the United States “really messed it up in Afghanistan” and the only good solution to the country’s situation is through a political settlement that is “inclusive” and involves all factions, including the Taliban.

The premier’s remarks came on Wednesday during an interview with Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour.

The prime minister emphasized that there was “no military solution” to the problem, and by trying military solutions “the US had really messed it up in Afghanistan”. “People like me who kept saying there was no military solution were called anti-American… When they finally decided there was no military solution, unfortunately, the bargaining powers of America or the NATO forces had gone”, he said.

When asked if the rise of the Taliban is good for Afghanistan, Imran Khan said Imran Khan that the Taliban must be a part of the government in an effort to peacefully resolve the current situation in Afghanistan.

“The worst situation in Afghanistan would be a civil war and a protracted civil war, and from Pakistan’s point of view, that would be the worst-case scenario”, he said, adding that Pakistan would then face a refugee problem due to continuing conflict.

When asked about alleged Taliban safe havens in Pakistan, he replied: “Where are these safe havens? There are three million refugees in Pakistan who are the same ethnic group as the Taliban. The Taliban are not in some military outfit, they are normal civilians. How is Pakistan supposed to hunt them down if they are in refugee camps?”

When the interviewer asked whether he thought the Taliban resurgence was a positive development for Afghanistan, the prime minister reiterated that the only good outcome would be a political settlement, “which is inclusive”.

At the time, Al Qaeda was based in Afghanistan and “there were no militant Taliban in Pakistan,” he said, maintaining that no Pakistan was involved in the attack on World Trade Centre.

Prime Minister Imran Khan further said allegations about 10,000 militants crossing into Afghanistan from Pakistan is “absolute nonsense” and that there is no “evidence” of such a claim.

The prime minister reiterated that he does not want CIA bases in Pakistan, as the US’ war on terror had already “bankrupted” Pakistan. “We do not have the capacity to have terrorism, to have fighting within our border. When we were in the height of that war on terror, which Pakistan had joined, there were suicide bombings taking place all over the country. Businesses collapsed, tourism collapsed”, he said.

According to the premier, Pakistan would become a “target” if it allowed US bases and reiterated that Pakistan “wants to be a partner in peace”, not conflict.

When asked during the interview what relationship Islamabad wanted with Washington at this point, Imran said the previous relationship was transactional and Pakistan was “like a hired gun”.

“Pakistan was like a hired gun. The US said we paid you, we gave you aid and that’s why you were fighting this war on terror. Pakistan, on the other hand, felt that it was a country which had no need to be part of this war,” he added.

Woodruff questioned the premier about his controversial remarks on rape, Imran clarified his stance, saying that “anyone who commits rape, solely and solely, that person is responsible.” “No matter whatever, how much ever a woman is provocative or whatever she wears, the person who commits rape, he is fully responsible. Never is the victim responsible,” he added.

The premier further said that he had specifically used the word “purdah”, referring to his earlier remarks on rape during a telethon in April.

Imran Khan said that he would never say “such a stupid thing” that “a person who’s raped is responsible … It’s always the rapist that is responsible.”

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