PRIME Minister Imran Khan, once again, lived up to his reputation of being a forthright leader and an ardent defender of national causes as he did a straight talk on important issues like the country’s nuclear programme, Kashmir dispute, double standards on human rights, Islamophobia, US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan’s relationship with the US during an interview with HBO.
He said that once the Kashmir issue is resolved, there will no longer be any need for nuclear deterrents, appreciated China for coming to the rescue of Pakistan at most difficult periods of its history, ruled out permission for US bases in Pakistan and apprehended that Afghanistan might fall into yet another phase of civil war if troops were withdrawn without a political settlement.
An honest appraisal of the genesis of Pakistan’s nuclear programme would make it absolutely clear that the country was forced to pursue the nuclear course in the face of substantial threats to its security and survival but Pakistan’s nuclear status is an eye sore for some powers and some segments of the international media that believe in nuclear apartheid.
This is also evident from the so-called intelligence leaks that describe Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal as the fastest growing despite the fact that the country is only maintaining relevance of its nuclear deterrence in view of jingoistic designs and military posture of India.
Pakistan has repeatedly declared that it is firmly against a nuclear arms race but some intelligence agencies and some sections of the Western media keep on exaggerating the nature of Pakistan’s nuclear programme while completely ignoring West’s own contribution in sharpening of India’s nuclear teeth through transfer of technology and sale of all sorts of equipment.
Linking the deterrence to resolution of the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir is somewhat understandable as this is the biggest cause of insecurity, instability and tension in the region but one hopes the Prime Minister was not hinting at some unilateral offer.
In the first place, not to speak of its just resolution, India is not even willing to substantially discuss the Kashmir dispute during talks with Pakistan, therefore, the cause of tension and conflict would remain there.
However, even if a solution is found there is no absolute guarantee that Pakistan would enjoy peaceful existence as India has not accepted the reality of an independent and sovereign Pakistan and keeps on hatching conspiracies to undermine its security and economic interests.
The jaundiced approach of some countries of the West was also highlighted in the case of their selective interpretation of Islamophobia as the interviewer questioned why the PM, who was otherwise so outspoken about Islamophobia, was silent about the alleged genocide of Uighur Muslims in China.
Ground realities, as confirmed by numerous neutral delegations that visited the autonomous region of Xinjiang, belie allegations of massive human rights violations there.
The Prime Minister aptly reminded the so-called champions of human rights as to why they are keeping mum over the plight of Muslims in Occupied Kashmir, Palestine, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Afghanistan.
Millions of innocent people became victim of lethal bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan where even marriage ceremonies and funeral processions were not spared by the ‘torch-bearers’ of human rights.
In fact, propaganda about the plight of Uighurs does not stem from sympathy for the Muslims but is a part of the campaign to malign China – a rising economic and military power of the globe.
The Prime Minister was also justified in his assessment that withdrawal of US troops without a political settlement would push Afghanistan into a fresh cycle of civil war as this is already happening there.
Ironically, the United States imposed an aggression on Afghanistan with manoeuvred UN approval but did not think it appropriate to assign the task of finding a political settlement to the world body in a timely manner.
There were also rumours that the US was running from Afghanistan to save its image from total distortion but was still in the search for bases in the region to keep an aggressive eye on the war-torn country.
The Prime Minister has done well by categorically rejecting reports about the possibility of Pakistan providing such bases to the United States as such a development would run contrary to the fundamental interests of Pakistan.
People of Pakistan have a trust in their Prime Minister and one hopes he will live up to their expectations and aspirations.