–Premier says govt has good relations with military, and army stands with govt’s policies related to India or Afghanistan
–Says Pakistan’s economic future is linked with China, and its model can be used to lift people out of poverty
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran on Wednesday said said that Saudi Arabia will always remain a friend of Pakistan, however, Pakistan wants the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to play a bigger role in the Kashmir dispute.
In an exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera, the prime minister said that Pakistan has raised the lingering dispute at all the forums and it will continue doing so.
He said that the world is not responding to the issue as unfortunately they are willing to ignore the huge travesty of justice for their commercial interests with India. “It does not mean we sit down quietly and accept the injustice,” he added. He expressed the strong commitment to continue to draw the world’s attention towards the dispute.
PM Imran said that eight million people in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) are in an open prison and eight hundred thousand troops are oppressing them.
Responding to a question, the prime minister said Saudi Arabia will always remain a friend of Pakistan, however, Pakistan wants the OIC to play a bigger role in the Kashmir dispute.
The premier said that he does not believe in any military solutions. He said that this is the reason he extended a hand of friendship to India after assuming the power. He added that the tragedy of India is that it is being ruled by an extremist government inspired by the ideology of Nazis.
When asked about the Afghan peace process, PM Imran warned against the spoilers. He said that there is one country India which does not want to see peace in Afghanistan.
He said that Pakistan has tried its best to get the Taliban and the Afghan government on the table of negotiations. “We have reached close to peace and political reconciliation. This is a miracle that this is happening in Afghanistan and we pray this happens,” he added. He further said that Pakistan has a stake in a peaceful Afghanistan, and whatever the Afghans think good for them is good for Pakistanis.
When asked about the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, PM Imran said, “We have excellent relations with China. Our economic future is linked with China.” He said that Pakistan can really benefit from the way China has lifted people out of poverty.
He also said that Pakistan also has a very good relationship with the United States as both the countries are partners in the Afghan peace process.
When asked about normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel, the premier said that if Palestinians are not allowed to have a just and viable state, the issue will not die down even if some countries recognise Israel. He added that the issue will keep festering.
Turning to the domestic situation, the prime minister said that Pakistan has been put in the right direction over the last two years. “We have introduced economic reforms and facilitated the businesses,” he said.
PM Imran said that Pakistan is a country with tremendous potential. He said that new changes are taking place in Pakistan. “Our whole policies are aimed at lifting the people out of poverty,” he added.
Regarding the Covid-19 situation, the prime minister said that Pakistan made probably the best but difficult decision of not imposing the complete lockdown. “We went for a smart lockdown to control the pandemic and protect the vulnerable segments of the society from its impacts,” he added.
Reaffirming the government’s stance against corruption, PM Imran said that this is the first time that the powerful are being held accountable.
He said that both the civilian government and the military have the most harmonious relationship. “We are working in complete coordination and cooperation,” he said, adding that the military is standing together with the government’s policies related to India or Afghanistan.
Responding to a question regarding crackdown on media freedom and the intimidation of journalists, the premier said that no other government had been subjected to such “blatant propaganda”. He added that it was the government and ministers that were unprotected and not the media.
“What do they call intimidation? If a person publishes fake news about a prime minister and the prime minister takes him to court, is that intimidation?” he asked.
PM Imran further said that in countries like England, this media treatment would result in libel cases and he would have been awarded a few million pounds.