Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused the U.S. of “pushing Pakistan away” and said he would never want to have a relation with Washington where his country is treated like a “hired gun”.
“Reflecting on the two nations’ changing relationship, the Pakistani prime minister said his country would no longer want to be “treated like a hired gun”, referring to the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and the ongoing US “war on terror”.
Khan and Donald Trump were involved in a Twitter spat last month after the American president suggested Pakistan had harboured Osama bin Laden despite receiving billions in US aid.
Khan told The Washington Post: “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. It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity. We would like a proper relationship with the U.S..”
“For instance, our relationship with China is not one-dimensional. It’s a trade relationship between two countries. We want a similar relationship with the U.S.,” he added.
When asked if Pakistan was trying to hedge its bets using China, Khan replied: “The US has basically pushed Pakistan away.”
Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks and the head of al Qaeda, was killed in 2011 during a raid by US special forces on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The raid strained relationship between America and long-time ally in the region.
The former cricketer told the newspaper he was merely “setting the record straight” with Trump “saying Pakistan was the reason for these sanctuaries [for Taliban leaders]”. The Pakistani leader insisted there “are no sanctuaries in Pakistan”.
He said: “The exchange was about being blamed for deeply flawed US policies – the military approach to Afghanistan.”
The comments come as Pakistan’s army has backed U.S. efforts for a political settlement with the Afghan Taliban to end 17 years war in Afghanistan.
With Inputs from Sky News