Wednesday 2 August 2017 - 06:48

Pakistan must detach self from US: Opposition leader Imran Khan

Story Code : 657981
Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan speaks to supporters during a rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, on July 30, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan speaks to supporters during a rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, on July 30, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The former cricket star told The Guardian on Tuesday that he was confident that his party would win parliamentary elections next year and that he would become prime minister. Pakistan’s Supreme Court dismissed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office in a verdict on Friday over corruption allegations. The Pakistani parliament has picked Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, an ally of Sharif, to hold the prime ministerial position until the elections.
    “Sadly, our ruling elite took dollars from the Americans and went into this war [on terror],” Khan said. “It has created such hatred in our society. It has created turmoil.”
Khan said he was ready to change Pakistan’s international relations.
‘Completely against receiving aid from US’
He said he believed that Washington’s support for Pakistan’s military had “enslaved” the country and that, if it were up to him, Islamabad would reject US aid entirely.
    “Aid cripples the country,” Khan said. “It enslaves the country. You are dictated decisions from abroad. I’m completely against this.”
He also said he would boost civilian rule in the country as prime minister.
Pakistan has witnessed a decades-long tug-of-war between its military and civilian government, a fractious relationship that Khan said he would be able to amend.
“I firmly believe that the army should not have a role in running the government,” Khan said. “The constitution gives me that power.”
“I will stand up for what I believe is in the interest of Pakistan. It doesn’t mean I am anti-anyone,” he added.
He said sending troops into the tribal areas to fight fellow Pakistanis on behalf of the US “is madness.”
Relations between Pakistan and the US have been frayed over the past decade, with US officials constantly accusing Pakistan of what they term as its unwillingness to act against the Pakistan-based Haqqani network.
The administration of US President Donald Trump announced last month that it was withholding $50 million in military aid to Pakistan over its failure to crack down on the militants.
Khan’s political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), holds a fraction of the seats held by the ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N). Nevertheless, Khan believes his party runs a chance of winning the elections next year.