PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Pakistan, endeavouring to make the Afghan peace process a success, says it has no favourites in the neighbouring country.
“Our only interest is that the future government in Kabul does not allow India to operate from there against Pakistan,” the Pakistan prime minister says.
In an interview with a German weekly on Friday, Imran Khan recalled his meetings with Dr. Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) and Hezb-i-Islami (HIA) chief Gulbadin Hekmatyar.
Khan told Der Spiegel his country had nothing to do with the 9/11 terror attacks in the US. “After 9/11, we should not have allowed our army to become involved in the war.”
He claimed opposing Pakistan’s involvement in the war from day one. He acknowledged the US pressured military dictator Pervez Musharraf into siding with the Americans.
To a query, he said Osama bin Laden was a hero in the 1980s, supporting the mujahedeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He was backed by the CIA and Pakistan, the PM added.
“It was Pakistan’s right to recognise the Taliban, but Pakistan had no control over the Taliban. When Pakistan asked the Taliban to hand over bin Laden to the Americans, they refused.”
Pakistan, hosting 2.7 million Afghan refugees, Pakistan had a certain amount of leverage, which it used in arranging peace talks, the prime minister said.
Khan believed it was hard to predict which way things would go in Afghanistan. After Afghanistan, the country that wanted peace most was Pakistan, he insisted.
“We have lost 70,000 people in this conflict, and our tribal areas adjacent to the Afghan border have been devastated over the last 15 years,” Khan continued.
He regretted the allegation as unfortunate that Pakistan was using militants to achieve its goals. It all started in the 1980s after the Iranian revolution.
“Many in the West began looking at Muslim countries as if there was a divide between liberals and fundamentalists – a very artificial assessment,” the PM said.
Muslim countries were no different from other communities — divided into moderates and extremists, he concluded.