Engaging with the Taliban only option


The Prime Minister says that sooner or later, the Taliban will have to be recognised by the world

Special Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, FEB 13 (DNA) — Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that there is “no other alternative to Taliban in Afghanistan,” so the “only option the world has right now is to engage with the Taliban for things to move forward.”

In an exclusive interview with Fareed Fareed Zakaria for CNN, the premier talked about Pakistan’s diplomatic relations with the new Taliban government in Afghanistan, the current state of the war on terror, and other issues.

PM said that sooner or later, the Taliban will have to be recognised by the world.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Europe and all neighbouring states of Afghanistan have stressed upon de-freezing of Afghan assets to avoid humanitarian crisis in war-torn country.

Interacting with former diplomats and representatives of think tank in Islamabad on Sunday, the Prime Minister said provision of assistance to Afghan people is a collective responsibility of the world community.

The Prime Minister said that the United States also understood and realized the prevailing situation in Afghanistan, and all stakeholders have consensus that steps should be taken so that Afghanistan should not be descended into chaos.

Talking about China, he said the Chinese leadership had appreciated his government’s steps to overcome the Covid 19 pandemic, and the economic indicators which were positive, he said, adding they reaffirmed economic support to Pakistan through specific projects.

The prime minister opined that his visit further added strength to the ties between the two countries.

Federal ministers and PM’s special assistants were also present during the interaction.

The prime minister said he held the meeting with President Xi Jinping after a period of two years since the outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic. These bilateral meetings added further impetus to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, he said while completely trashing an impression over the slow-paced work on these projects.

During the Beijing Winter Olympics, the Chinese crowd warmly cheered the Pakistani contingent, reflecting how deeply rooted these ties had been between the two countries, he observed.

Responding to another question, the prime minister said the strategic direction of his government was very clear. They wanted to maintain relations with all and would not become a part of any camp.

During the last three and half years, the government had navigated from ‘the minefield’ of economic challenges, he said, adding that due to the government’s prudent policies, the country was witnessing growth rate, record tax collections, revenue generation, and remittances which indicated that the country’s economy had been moving in the right direction.

To another question, the prime minister opined that unless you had two-third majority in the parliament, you could not enact legislation to bring in various reforms in the society, stressing that there was requirement for huge reforms.

These pieces of legislation, sometimes, stuck up in the parliament or in the Senate, he maintained.

He said in China, they had meritocracy and rule of law, about 400 ministerial-level people had been held accountable over corruption charges which had increased the popularity of President Xi.

The prime minister said the global pandemic had devastated the world. Different countries of the world including Italy, Spain and the UK opted for complete lockdowns, but he went against such precedent for which he was bitterly criticized by his political opponents.