IN an interview with ‘Axio on HBO’ Prime Minister Imran Khan minced no words when he categorically stated that Pakistan would not allow any US bases and use of its territory for any action inside Afghanistan.
Being a sovereign country, Pakistan has the right to take decisions that suits its national interests.
Everyone is aware how Pakistan suffered whenever bases were provided to the US in past during the cold war and the war on terrorism.
The regrettable part is that instead of acknowledging country’s sacrifices, the US always used the mantra of ‘do more’.
While learning lessons from the past and at a time when the country is jumping on the bandwagon of geo-economics, we are confident that Pakistan will not succumb to any US inducements and pressures.
Continued US military footprint, even limited to radar surveillance from a military base, is only a recipe for perpetual conflict and it will have far reaching political, diplomatic and security implications for Pakistan. Hence PM’s position on this issue is clear and laudable.
Imran Khan has always opposed Pakistan’s past dealings with Washington. Before coming into power, he not only used to strongly condemn the US drone strikes but also launched a campaign against them.
It is noteworthy that even after coming into power, Khan time and again stressed the need for having a balanced and mutually beneficial relationship with the United States.
Hence, instead of cajoling Pakistan to revisit its stand, Washington must respect Pakistan’s decision.
Time has also come for the US to see Pakistan beyond the prism of Afghanistan and build a strong relationship on the basis of mutual respect and interest.
Peace can only return to Afghanistan through negotiated settlement between various parties and efforts in that direction must be expedited to give a healing touch to the Afghan people who have already suffered a lot because of prolonged conflict.