Pakistan joined America 'war on terror' for money: PM Imran Khan
Islamabad, Dec 22: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday regretted Pakistan's decision to join America's 20-year-long 'war on terror' in Afghanistan by calling it "self-inflicted wound" and a decision made for the sake of money and not for public interest.
Khan, who had long been critical of Pakistan's participation in the about two-decades long war, claimed that he was close to the decision-makers in 2001 when the then military ruler, Gen Pervez Musharraf, decided to become part of the 'war on terror'.
"And so, I am well aware of what considerations there were behind the decision. Unfortunately, the people of Pakistan were not a consideration," Khan said while addressing the officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"The considerations, instead, were the same as in the 1980s, when we participated in the Afghan jihad," he said, referring to the Soviet-Afghan war, which was then dubbed as "holy war".
"We ourselves are responsible. As we let [others] use us, sacrificed the reputation of our country for aid and made a foreign policy that went against the public interest [and was devised] for money."
He termed the 'war on terror' for Pakistan a "self-inflicted wound" and added that "we cannot blame anyone else for this outcome (of the war)."
Khan in the past had often cited that Pakistan suffered more than 80,000 deaths and economic losses of over USD 100-billion as a result of the 20 years of war.
Talking about the latest situation in Afghanistan, Khan said that it was a "big atrocity" that a man-made crisis was being created "when it is known that unfreezing Afghanistan's accounts and liquidity will avert the crisis."
He said that addressing the situation in Afghanistan was important for Pakistan as being its neighbour, it could be hit badly due to the crisis.
He said that Pakistan would continue to provide assistance to Afghanistan in these difficult times.
He further added that irrespective of liking or disliking the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the world should focus on the difficulties being faced by its 40 million people.
Khan also congratulated and appreciated the Foreign Office for hosting the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation session at a short notice and said that the response to the summit showed that Pakistan's image had improved globally.
"The attendance at the summit and the appreciation of Pakistan's stance reflect that the country's image had improved," the premier said, adding that credit for the "improvement in Pakistan's image" goes to his government.
The prime minister further urged the officers of the ministry to shift their focus from geo-politics to geo-economics and asserted that Pakistan can become a great country by focusing on self-belief.