Pakistan wants the US to be balanced dealings with Pakistan and India. Under the incoming leadership of president-elect Joe Biden, it is not easy to predict the trajectory of the U.S’ policy with regards to these countries.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an interview with Turkish outlet A News, voiced his concerns over the U.S shoring up support to India up to counterbalance China’s growing status in the region. He said that Washington should ensure that they are treating Pakistan and India equally, and not treat India as some big Western Ally pitted against China.
Khan further voiced concern over Human Rights issues in India, and has claimed that the neighboring country’s current regime believed India was only for Hindus and there was no space for Muslims and other minorities. He said Kashmir issue has always become the reason of conflict between India and Pakistan.
Prime Minister has also highlighted the recent ongoing Quetta sit-in where protesters have blocked a major highway with the bodies of murdered Hazara coalminers. The protesters have committed that they will not end their sit-in until the prime minister personally visits them and addresses their concerns.
He said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf-led government was committed to protecting religious minorities. He mentioned the brutal killing of the coalminers as well as the destruction of a Hindu shrine in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. He further acknowledged the state’s duty to ensure the security and safety of its people.
Linking to the Hazara killing, he spoke about the 1980s’ when Pakistanis participated in the resistance against Soviets. One of the worst outcomes of the conflict in Afghanistan, according to PM Khan is militant sectarianism that spills over into Pakistan.
Khan also addressed the attack on the Hindu shrine in Karak, noting that the government had immediately taken action and arrested everyone responsible for the crime, as well as funding its rebuilding.
Khan spoke about the evolution of Islamophobia in Western countries and traced it back to Salman Rushdie; saying he wrote this book which insulted our Holy Prophet (PBUH),” he said.
And since then, two things happened: One, in the west they could not understand the reaction of the Muslims when our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was insulted. They could not understand it, and they believed that Islam was against freedom of speech. So, they put it on freedom of speech.
He added that the Western people cannot understand the way we feel for our Prophet (PBUH) because they don’t consider their own holy sacred entities the way we do.
This gap of misunderstanding and Islamophobia have grown together, he said, and criticized the French government for equating terrorism to Islam. Marginalization creates radicalization, he added.
Khan said that Pakistan had no intention of formally recognizing ties with Israel. He has also claimed that doing so would result in Pakistan losing its moral standing on the Kashmir issue, and further said that it also went against Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s policy of not recognizing Israel.
The prime minister claimed that the country had relied on targeted lockdowns that protected both lives and livelihoods. The government was in contact with China to procure COVID-19 vaccination on priority basis to protect the lives.
At the end of the interview, Khan stressed that his vision for Pakistan was the same as that of Jinnah; a state based on justice, welfare, education, research, and democracy.