We're not your “hired” gun, Imran tells US

Wednesday 12th December 2018 03:05 EST

ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan has accused the US of “pushing Pakistan away”, saying he would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a “hired gun”. “I would never want to have relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun-- given money to fight someone else's war,” Khan said in an interview. Referring to the 1980s war against the Soviet Union and the ongoing war on terror. “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,” Khan said.

When asked to elaborate on the ideal nature of relationship that he would like to have with the US, Khan said, “For instance, our relationship with China is not one-dimensional. It's a trade relationship between two countries. We want a similar relationship with the US.” He said his country was not “hedging” towards China, rather it was Washington's attitude which had brought a change in the bilateral relationship. “The US had basically pushed Pakistan away.” When asked why he “harboured anti-US sentiments”, Khan said disagreeing with Washington's policies did not make him “anti-American”. “This is a very imperialistic approach. You are either with me or against me.”

Khan also condemned the 2011 US operation in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden. Calling it “humiliating” that the US did not trust Pak to kill terrorist, Khan said, “It was humiliating that we were losing our soldiers and civilians and (suffering terrorist) bomb attacks because we were participating in the US war, and then our ally did not trust us to kill bin Laden.” He added that the US “should have tipped off Pakistan”. “We did not know whether we were a friend or a foe.”

Khan said he was committed to having dialogue to achieve peace in war-torn Afghanistan. “I talked for years about how there was no military solution in Afghanistan and they called me Taliban Khan. Now I'm happy that everyone realises there is only a political solution.” He also dismissed claims that there were safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan, saying that “there are no sanctuaries in Pakistan.”

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