We must aim for self-reliance: PM Pak paid heavy price for joining US-led Afghan war

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Staff Reporter
Islamabad

Prime Minister Imran Khan has lamented that rulers in the past had made huge mistakes by becoming part of foreign conflicts including joining the United States-led war on terror in Afghanistan, saying it caused tremendous damage to the country.
“First we made a mistake by joining someone else’s war… we [Pakistan] had nothing to do with 9/11 attacks,” said the premier on Thursday while addressing a ceremony in Islamabad.

“We entered someone else’s war which wasn’t ours, we should’ve never joined it,” he said, adding that Pakistan had first taken part in “glorifying jihad” in the 1980s and making the Mujahideen “heroes”, and later pursued them as “terrorists” on instructions of the US after 9/11. “So the country inevitably had to pay a heavy price for it.”
He lamented that Pakistan had to suffer tremendously due to the flawed policies of becoming part of foreign conflicts in return for aid. “But we have to learn from these mistakes that there is no free lunch,” said the prime minister.
Imran Khan said Pakistanis shouldn’t be concerned about creating a “soft image” of their country only to win approval from the West, calling such a perception an “inferiority complex”.

Addressing the launching ceremony of a documentary drama titled “Pani Ke Punkh” in Islamabad on Thursday, the premier said the nation should instead strive for being seen as an independent nation which has confidence in itself and does not have to rely on anyone for aid.

“I repeatedly hear we need to present a soft image of Pakistan. What does a soft image mean? Why do we say this and if this soft image is established will the world consider us very good?
“We shouldn’t fall into this kind of misunderstanding; this is an inferiority complex. When a nation loses it confidence it tries to please people,” the prime minister emphasised.

He said people shouldn’t plan their actions based on what Western countries would approve, citing the example of the vision of “enlightened moderation” introduced by former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf.

“We heard the term ‘enlightened moderation’ for the first time in our lives. Nobody knows what it means. Most people understood it that the more we resemble people in the West the more we will appear moderate. So people started speaking English and wearing Western clothes, and [thought] they had become moderate. “Is this moderation? Please understand this is inferiority complex.”

Imran said Pakistanis only had to promote one image: that of an independent nation standing on its feet which believes in itself, doesn’t rely on anyone and doesn’t take loans from or beg anyone.

“Only then does the world respect you,” he said, stressing that a nation that is self-reliant and thought big held the true honour. “So the nation shouldn’t think we go around pleasing the world, presenting a soft image.”
“Until our thinking remains that we can’t do anything until someone from the outside gives us loans due to our soft image, we can’t move forward.” Prime Minister Imran promised his government’s “complete support” for the film industry to produce original documentaries and films.

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