NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in a sitting with the Asia Society, held in conjunction with the 72nd UN General Assembly session in New York, ‘reminded’ the US that the “Haqqanis and Hafiz Saeeds” were the US’ “darlings” just 30 years ago.
“The US has had a major role in Pakistan and Afghanistan’s ‘burning’ even after [the passage of] 30 years,” the minister maintained as he lashed out at US’ accusations that Pakistan harboured terrorism.
“For us the most challenging task was to put our house in order,” Asif added.
“Pakistan has suffered grievously from conflict and instability in Afghanistan. Unless this cycle is reversed, we would continue to bear the brunt. No country has a larger stake in seeing peace return to Afghanistan than Pakistan.”
He further reiterated his statement saying, “Scapegoating Pakistan for all the Afghan ills is neither fair nor accurate. There’s no military solution for Afghanistan. Pakistan in its past has done all it could to facilitate a political settlement.”
Referring to the war in Afghanistan and the incessant blaming, Asif said that it was a collective mistake but the US shouldn’t have left the way it did way back in the 90s.
“You thought the cold war is over, we are the sole super power so we don’t have to bother about Pakistan or this region they can go to hell and that is what happened, we went to hell and we are still burning in that hell,” he remarked.
“You must give us allowance for the reversal of liberal Pakistan. We were a pluralistic society but what we did to justify the jihad in 1980, we reversed everything. Our heroes have become non-heroes and non-heroes have become heroes because we wanted to justify jihad. Because that suited then our friends, the Americans. In that process our ethos was destroyed and the whole generation of my country is paying a very heavy price.”
The minister said Pakistan had its clear limits and the country could not take further responsibility for Afghanistan’s peace and security. Effective border management is key for peace and Pakistan is ready to facilitate the US on the border front.
“Our government reached out to India but our gestures of goodwill were not reciprocated by India. India has chosen to adopt confrontation and escalation over dialogue and engagement,” the minister said over Pakistan’s stance on regional harmony.
On Trump’s directives for US policy in Afghanistan, Asif said the government and the public at large was “not very pleased”. “It was utter disappointment, though not shocking.
“Pakistan has stood very firmly with the US in the Soviet war which was a wrong decision. It was a proxy war. We were used and discarded. In the 60’s we were in the US camp and the US imposed sanctions like the Pressler’s amendment on Pakistan in the 90’s. Besides all the heartbreak we stood by the US, but this time it wasn’t surprising but disappointing.”
Asif maintained that “no billions of dollars have been dished out to us”. “It was money which was reimbursed for the services we rendered to the USA and its allies.”
“Don’t blame us for the Haqqanis or the Hafiz Saeeds. These were people who were your darlings just 20 to 30 years back. They were being dined and wined in the White House and now you say go to hell Pakistanis because you are nurturing these people,” the minister said defending Pakistan’s position versus the fingers being pointed at the state for harbouring militants.
“You cannot divorce history just to move forward. They [the militants] are a liability and it will take time for Pakistan to work its way through that.”