Pakistan Army supports govt. decisions: PM

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Prime Minister Imran Khan says Pakistan is not responsible for what the Taliban are doing

Special Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Dispelling the impression that the government in Pakistan was controlled by the military, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said this was the impression that India had created about Pakistan.

The Prime Minister said unfortunately there was a misconception in Afghanistan, which was based on Indian propaganda, that Pakistan was controlled by military institutions. Talking to the representatives of the Afghan journalists in Islamabad, he categorically stated, “Pakistan Army fully supports the government.

 The army has stood by each and every foreign policy step I have taken so far.” The prime minister made it clear that what decisions he had taken in the domain of foreign policy so far were part of his party’s (Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf) 25-year-old manifesto, and were not dictated by the military ‘establishment’.

He made it clear that everybody in Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan because peace in the war-torn country was a pre-requisite for our economic strategies to succeed. “If the civil war goes on between the Taliban and the Afghan government, it will certainly spill over into Pakistan. Already we have millions of refugees in Pakistan. And we cannot afford to host more refugees in our country.”

PM Imran said Pakistan was not responsible for what the Taliban were doing. “What the Taliban are doing has nothing to do with us. We just want peace in Afghanistan,” he said, and asked, “How Pakistan could ensure Afghan refugees living here do not cross over into their country and fight alongside the Taliban when there is a cross-border movement every day.”

He said Pakistan did have an interest in the landlocked country in the past. “Because then we had the policy of strategic depth because we were wary of India. But now we believe Afghans have themselves to decide their future. We don’t have any ‘favorites’ in Afghanistan,” the prime minister said emphatically.

Criticising the American policy in Afghanistan, PM Imran said that the country ought to have held negotiations with the Taliban when they had their troops stationed in Afghanistan. “Now how can they (the Americans) talk to them from the position of strength when only few thousands of their soldiers are left in Afghanistan?” he questioned.

The prime minister said that first India had denied the right of self-determination to the Kashmiris by not implementing the UN resolutions, and the last nail it hammered into the coffin was on August 5, 2019 it robbed Kashmir of the special status it had granted to it under Article-370 of its constitution.

He told the Afghan journalists that Hindu fanatics were committing human rights violations in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nose at will. He said peace in Afghanistan will give Pakistan an access to the Central Asian Republics. Responding to questions, he said that all the future economic policies of Pakistan depended on peace in Afghanistan.