Islamabad: Underlining the role Pakistan can play there and in the region, after the US leaves war-torn Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said Pakistan wants “civilized” and “equal” relations with Washington like the US. are with Britain or India. Khan made this remark during an interview with the American newspaper ‘The New York Times. He also expressed disappointment in the interview that his efforts to normalize ties with India had made no progress even though he had contacted Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortly after taking office in August 2018.
The interview comes at a time when US President Joe Biden held his first one-on-one meeting with his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani at the White House on Friday, The Dawn newspaper reported. Khan said it had closer ties with the US than with other countries like India in the region and was America’s partner in the war against terrorism. “Now, after the US leaves Afghanistan, Pakistan basically wants a decent relationship like you have with other countries and we would like to improve our business relationship with the US,” he said.
Asked to elaborate on his vision of civilized relations, Khan said he wanted a relationship “like the one between the US and the UK or the US and India now”. Therefore, a relationship that is equal.” “Unfortunately, during the fight against terrorism, relations were a bit unbalanced,” he said. He said, “It was an imbalanced relationship because America thought that it was giving aid to Pakistan. He felt that Pakistan would have to obey America in such a situation. And Pakistan had to pay a heavy price for trying to obey America…70 thousand Pakistanis were killed, and more than $150 billion in damage to the economy because of suicide attacks and bombs going off all over the country.”
‘Tried to talk to PM Modi’
Khan said that the main problem with this unbalanced relationship was that “the Pakistani government tried to do what it was not capable of” and this led to “trust between the two countries”. “And people in Pakistan feel that they paid a very, very heavy price for this relationship. And the US feels that Pakistan has not done enough.” In the interview, Khan also claimed that Pakistan would have had better relations with them if there was another government in India and they would have resolved all their differences through dialogue. “When I took office, I put forward the vision of (building) a normal, decent business relationship to Prime Minister Narendra Modi… We tried but things didn’t move forward,” he said. Khan claimed, “Had there been another Indian leadership, I think we would have had a good relationship with them. And yes, we would have resolved all our differences through dialogue.”
Imran said on Kashmir
Relations between the two countries worsened after India in August 2019 withdrew the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories. On the status quo in Kashmir, Khan said, “I think it is a disaster for India because it will mean that this dispute will continue”.