Pak­istan not ‘hired gun’ any­more: Im­ran Khan tells Trump

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IS­LAM­ABAD: Prime Minister Im­ran Khan has ex­pressed re­gret over his coun­try’s past deal­ings with the United States, assert­ing that Pak­istan will not act as a ‘hired gun’ for the US any­more.

“I would never want to have a re­la­tion­ship where Pak­istan is treated like a hired gun— given money to fight some­one else’s war. We should never put our­selves in this po­si­tion again,” said Khan in a Wash­ing­ton Post in­ter­view pub­lished on Thurs­day.

Re­spond­ing to US claims that Pak­istan has been har­bor­ing mil­i­tants within its bor­ders, Khan stressed that his coun­try had in fact served theUS by par­tic­i­pat­ing in the so-called war on ter­ror, a war Is­lam­abad had "noth­ing to do with".

“If we had stayed neu­tral af­ter 9/11, I reckon we would have saved our­selves from the dev­as­ta­tion that took place af­ter­ward. By be­com­ing the front-line state for the US in the war on ter­ror, this coun­try went through hell,” said Khan.

“It not only cost us hu­man lives, dev­as­ta­tion of our tribal ar­eas, but it also cost us our dig­nity.”

Khan’s re­vi­sion­ist com­ments on US re­la­tions come as the Pak­istani premier had a heated ex­change with US Pres­i­dent Don­aldTrump ear­lier last month.

Khan re­jected Trump’s ac­cu­sa­tion that Pak­istan had done “noth­ing” to fight ter­ror­ism de­spite re­ceiv­ing “bil­lions” in US aid, un­der­lin­ing US fail­ure in end­ing con­flict in Afghanistan af­ter spend- ing nearly two decades in the coun­try.

Trump's con­tro­ver­sial com­ments on Pak­istan's an­titer­ror­ism ef­forts come amid on­go­ing de­bate about the US for­eign pol­icy ac­com­plish­ments in­Afghanistan.

Ear­lier this week, Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen­eral Joseph Dun­ford de­fended fur­ther US mil­i­tary pres­ence in the coun­try.

Dun­ford stressed that such a de­ploy­ment was nec­es­sary to avoid an­other pos­si­ble "9/11", un­der­lin­ing a con­tin­ued and po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous "en­emy" pres­ence in the coun­try.

The Pak­istani prime minister has as­serted his long­time op­po­si­tion to the mil­i­ta­rized and heavy-handed Amer­i­can ap­proach to­wards Afghanistan.

"I talked for years about how there was no mil­i­tary so­lu­tion in Afghanistan,... now I’m happy that ev­ery­one re­al­izes there is only a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion."

The newly-elected premier has stressed the need to change Pak­istan's oned­i­men­sional re­la­tions with the US, ex­plain­ing that re­la­tions with other coun­tries like China stand as a good ex­am­ple of bi­lat­eral trade re­la­tion­ships.

Khan was elected by Pak­istan’s Na­tional Assem­bly in mid-Au­gust af­ter his Tehreek-e-In­saf (PTI) party won gen­eral elec­tions against the Pak­istan Mus­lim League party lead by Shahbaz Sharif, brother of jailed ex-premier Nawaz Sharif.

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