Islamabad: Pakistan is keen to have a “proper relationship” with the US similar to Islamabad’s all-weather ties with China rather than being humiliated and treated like a “hired gun”, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said. The ties between Washington and Islamabad strained, especially after President Donald Trump, announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August last year, hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos” that kill Americans in Afghanistan.
In September, the Trump administration cancelled $300 million in military aid to Islamabad for not doing enough against terror groups. Last month, Trump said castigated Pakistan once again, saying it was not doing “a damn thing” for America in curbing terror.
PM Khan, in an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday, said: “I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun — given money to fight someone else’s war,” Khan said, referring to the 1980s war against the Soviet Union and the ongoing war on terror.
“It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity,” he said. Asked to elaborate on the ideal nature of relationship he would like to have with Washington, Khan added: “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 US.”
The PM said Pakistan was not “hedging” towards China, rather it was Washington’s attitude which had brought a change in the bilateral relationship. The cricketer-turned-politician rejected the notion he was “anti-US”, saying disagreeing with Washington’s policies did not make him “anti-American”. “This is a very imperialistic approach. ‘You’re either with me or against me’,” he said .Asked if he wanted relations between Pakistan and the United States to “warm up”, Khan responded: “Who would not want to be friends with a superpower?”