The opposition grouping led by Imran Khan is aghast at the humiliation borne by Pakistan during the Nato summit in Chicago where it said the country’s contributions to the war on terror were summarily overlooked. To add insult to injury, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said, US President Barack Obama had not even condescended to hold a formal meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari.
On Thursday, PTI chief Imran Khan lamented that despite the death of 40,000 Pakistanis and the loss of Rs70 billion in a “strangers’ war”, Pakistan’s sacrifices were still not being given any consideration.
“The US is not ready to accept the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan, loss of over 40,000 lives including 6,000 soldiers, in the so-called war against terrorism,” said the PTI chairman at a press conference.
Imran accused the government of fighting the war just to earn dollars. “The US did not respect resolutions passed by our parliament and now they did not even bother to meet the president. This is not our war so let’s get out of it,” he maintained.
He believes that Pakistan should immediately disassociate itself from the US war on terror and initiate a dialogue with the tribal people. “There should be an immediate ceasefire in the tribal areas because this war has mutilated our tribal culture.”
Commenting on his decision to skip the dinner hosted by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in honour of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he said he did not attend the dinner because it would mean that he is accepting Gilani as the prime minister.
However, he said, “had I gone to attend the dinner I would have gone for Erdogan because he is a well-respected leader of the Islamic world.”
Responding to a question about the long march against Gilani, Imran said that on moral grounds, Gilani was not the premier any longer. He said that PTI will chalk out its future strategy after a decision is taken over his appeal by the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Lt Gen (retd) Ali Kuli Khan Khattak, along with his two brothers, announced that they have joined the PTI during the press conference on Tuesday. He reposed his confidence in Imran’s leadership.
Imran welcomed Khattak with open arms, who had stepped down in protest when then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the appointment of his junior officer, Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, to four-star rank and chief of army staff.
Govt has failed: Qureshi
Meanwhile, the party’s vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi joined the anti-government chorus and said that the government has failed to present its case to the international community before the Nato summit in Chicago despite Pakistan’s strategic importance in Nato’s exit from Afghanistan.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore on Tuesday, the former foreign minister said it was most unfortunate that fingers were pointed at Pakistan after the country had sacrificed so much in the war on terror.
“Humiliation faced at the Chicago summit is evidence of the same,” he stated.
He said that the president had to come back from the summit “empty-handed” and the government had failed to protect the country’s national interests.
(WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN LAHORE)
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2012.