Defence dependence on US has long ended, says PM

Published: October 9, 2017
Prime MInister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. PHOTO: REUTERS

Prime MInister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is no longer dependent on the United States to meet its military and other requirements, says Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

“We have major US weapons systems in our military, but we’ve also diversified [our arsenal]. We have Chinese and European systems. Recently, we inducted [in our arsenal] Russian attack helicopters for the first time,” Abbasi said in his interview with Arab News on Monday

“If one source dries up, we have no option but to go to another source. It may cost more; it may consume more resources but we have to fight that war [against terrorism], and that’s what we emphasised to all the people that we [have] met,” he added.

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The premier, however, warned the United States that any sanctions or restraints put on the country’s systems would only degrade the efforts to fight terror and affect equation in the region. He also made it clear that Washington’s desire to include India as a stakeholder in Afghanistan would be detrimental.

“We don’t believe that injecting India into the Pakistan-US relationship will help resolve anything, especially in Afghanistan, where we don’t see any role for India. India has a relationship with the US. That is between them and the US.”

Abbasi said Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan via a solution that was owned and led by the Afghans. We could categorically state that we do not provide any sanctuaries to anybody, he added. Today, the reality is that much of the areas bordering Pakistan are controlled by the Taliban.

“The people we’re fighting in Pakistan today have their sanctuaries in Afghanistan, their leadership is living there, the planning is done there, the logistical bases are there, and they regularly cross the border and attack our installations.”

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“[In order to counter these safe havens] we’re fencing our border. We’re open to Afghan liaison officers. We have Afghan refugees here. So, if anything is pinpointed and intelligence is provided, we take action,” he added.

On his interactions on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Abbasi said he had met key players including eight heads of state, UN secretary-general, US Vice President Mike Pence and international investors.

He said a ‘candid’ discussion with Pence was essential for official engagements in the future because when Trump’s policy statement on South Asia came out, there were a lot of apprehensions on what it meant, and what it meant for Pakistan-US relations.

“I think we moved substantially forward in that direction. Whatever concerns they [the US] have, we’ve shown our willingness to address those concerns,” he added. “Pakistan wants an equal relationship or partnership with the US, like every other nation.”

“The bottom line is today we have a common objective: To destroy terror and bring peace to Afghanistan. We’re partners in the war on terror, and that’s what we emphasised.

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“We emphasised to everybody we met there [at the UNGA] that nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan,” he added.

Abbasi said Pakistan had fought ‘a very hard and vicious’ war on terror, adding that 200,000 of its troops had been deployed to fight militancy; 6,500 troops had laid down their lives, 21,000 civilians and policemen had been killed and almost 35,000 people had been seriously injured in terror attacks.

“Nobody has fought a bigger war on terror than we have, with our own resources. Even the most conservative economic estimates of Pakistan’s losses are over $120 billion. It has been a very difficult war, but our army has performed very well,” he added.

The premier said the government faced a barrage of domestic and international challenges, including that of terrorism, energy crisis, and economic and regional volatility. “Governing a country with a ballooning population of over 207 million is no walk in the park,” he added.

“We have a neighbour to the east with which we’ve had several wars. They are also a nuclear power. We have a dispute. They occupied Kashmir, which is our territory,” he said

To a question on the next general election, Abbasi said, “Whatever happens, elections will happen on time and in early August. Pakistan will, God willing, have a new government. Hopefully, the same party [PML-N] will come to power,” he said.

Watch the full interview here:

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Reader Comments (5)

  • peanut
    Oct 9, 2017 - 4:15PM

    So what happens when Pakistan’s largest export partner stops buying textiles? It’s hard to buy weapons when you don’t have hard currency and that dries up quickly when you largest customer stops buying. China might sell weapons to Pakistan but they are competitors in the textile business so they aren’t going to replace the USA as textile customer.Recommend

  • Ahmed Raza
    Oct 9, 2017 - 4:29PM

    US cannot undermine the geostrategic importance of pakistan, as this Strong, valid and most seriously statement were needed since long time before when US Stop supply of F-16 and AID to fight against terrorism and when trump repeatedly discourage our role in fighting against US inborns (Terrorism and Extremism). US cannot fight or win war without the support of our beloved country. All the false accusations of US “that pakistan is supporting militias and harbouring terrorists ” are senseless and illogical, as major and minor supply to war engaged american forces for their livelihood, war equipments, air bases and intelligence support for their war winning goals are made possible through our territory. inspite of joining our hand to fight against terrorism US plays the blame game for their lost and long run war in afghanistan.

    Pakistan never supported any UN banned outfit or organisation which impedes or lessen the economy and geo-stability of regional and international countries. She had joined every international platform to diminishes the soars of all deteriorating activities of instability and violence. if US not supports her in fighting against his remains(Terrorism & Extremism) after Proxy war, then above statement of Pakistan PM (Executive) is most valuable and meaningfull.Recommend

  • Habibullah
    Oct 9, 2017 - 7:51PM

    CPEC has changed the game !! Pakistan Zindabad !!Recommend

  • Kulbhushan yadav
    Oct 10, 2017 - 4:58AM

    Removal of GSP plus would be enough to make pakistan crawl back to US.Recommend

  • genesis
    Oct 10, 2017 - 9:09PM

    Atleast US buys textile from Pakistan inspite of all misunderstandings.With an excellent relationship with China what does China buy .Always export,export and more of it..Recommend

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