Says Trump is a habitual tweeter who tweets rather flippantly
Says Zainab’s death is a wake-up call for Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that if she was in the Foreign Office, she would have ignored US President Donald Trump’s tweet in which he had said the United States had “foolishly” given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid and “they have given us nothing but lies and deceit”, while accusing Pakistan of providing “safe havens” to terrorists.
During an interview with CNN, she said, “I would be more concerned about the tweeter than the tweet,” and added that “if a superpower is going to tweet its foreign policy, then it should be ignored”.
“This person is a habitual tweeter who tweets rather flippantly, almost like which side of the bed you woke up on. After all the other tweets, I think we should be more concerned about the tweeter than the tweet,” remarked Khar.
When asked whether she thinks the Pakistani government would retaliate, she said she would respond to the policy statement given out on South Asia “which wasn’t encouraging for Pakistan”, because that was a government approach.
Khar further said externalising the massive failure in Afghanistan “is not a solution, and unfortunately, we’ve seen this earnest need on the other side”.
The former minister also commented on Trump’s decision to take away the aid it gives to Pakistan, saying the country’s dependence on US aid has been “rather exaggerated”.
“I don’t think we’re dependent on it. As someone who managed Pakistan’s portfolio’s for almost five years, I can tell you that our reliance on them is vastly exaggerated.”
Taking a jibe at Trump, Khar said one doesn’t need to be a “stable genius” to do some basic mathematics.
“He talked about a $33 billion that Pakistan received from the US. The fact is, since 2001 Pakistan has received somewhere around $4.8bn under the head of security assistance, and $5.3bn in the realm of civilian assistance,” she noted.
Speaking on the Pak-US relationship during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Khar said that “they both very conveniently got out of the relationship and the loss was Pakistan’s to bear”.
“All the mujahideen which had been trained on our soil, all the infiltration of terrorist extremist mindset which had happened in our people’s minds was left for us to deal with and America was happily moved away,” said Khar.
She further said Pakistan’s effort in ridding Afghanistan from the Soviet “instilled extremism inside Pakistani society and changed the fabric of society forever”.
“We can’t afford to be flippant about the realities on the ground in Afghanistan. Warlord-ism all over the place in Afghanistan, where Taliban have taken over.”
In his first tweet of 2018, Trump had announced cutting all further aid to Islamabad on charges of harbouring terrorists.
In the tweet, Trump said “the US had foolishly given Pakistan over $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years” and accused Pakistan of thinking “US leaders to be fools”.
“They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he wrote.
PAKISTAN AND CHINA RELATIONS:
Speaking about Pakistan’s relationship with China post-Trump tweet, the former FM said, “I don’t believe you have to turn away from one to turn towards another.”
“China is a regional strategic partner, perhaps the only real strategic partner we’ve had, not from today or the past five years but for the last four decades. With them [China] we have complete alignment of interests.”
Saying she does not consider herself a conspiracy theorist, Khar said she is increasingly starting to believe the presence of the US in Afghanistan is not for peace and stability, but as George Friedman states in his book The Next 100 Years, the US is present there “to create chaos in the region, so that Russia, China and other Central Asian countries can be contained”.
“Not a conspiracy theorist, but the more I see how the war in Afghanistan is being fought, the more I believe it.”
‘ZAINAB CASE WAKE-UP CALL FOR PAKISTAN’:
As the topic turned to the rape and murder of seven-year-old in Kasur which sent shockwaves through the country, Khar is asked why she thinks the case was delayed.
“The training, efficiency and requirement of police in Pakistan leave much to be desired,” replies Khar.
However, she goes on to say that the incident has woken up the conscience of the Pakistani people. “Pakistan is currently in a state of mourning. Sometimes it takes one incident to spark the awareness required on matters considered to be taboo.”
In Pakistan, because of cultural inhibitions, one cannot talk about child sexual abuse, Khar noted but went on to say that because of the incident, people, for example, the Sindh government is now creating a curriculum for awareness on how children can protect themselves from abuse and how the society can protect them.
“The incident is breaking taboos that existed. People are now demanding to do much more to face this issue very aggressively. Much more needs to be done to make sure our children are safe.”
Khar is also asked whether she thinks her country is safe for her children.
“In the last ten years, Pakistan has been in a state of active war. Our soldiers are dying every day to get the country back to normal. Violence has decreased and much of territory is back under the control of the government. I believe our direction is right.”