Cricketer turned politician Imran Khan said Pakistan should distance itself from Washington by rejecting all American aid to the country.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief said that Pakistan is now more vulnerable than at any time in its 63 years of existence following the US operation in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden.
The Herald report quotes Imran:
“The biggest lesson to learn [from the operation] is that Pakistan should stand on its own feet, say no to aid and be a sovereign country,” he said. “Our government policies have been dictated by aid, they have enslaved us by aid.”
Leaders of the US Congress voiced support on Thursday for preserving aid to Pakistan, calling for a clear-eyed view despite outrage that Osama bin Laden lived for years in the allied nation.
The United States has given some $18 billion to Pakistan since the September 11, 2001 attacks, when the nuclear-armed nation officially ended support of Afghanistan’s Taliban and agreed to work with the United States.
Last week, PTI announced a second protest against drone attacks and vowed to block NATO supplies by staging a two-day sit-in on May 21 and 22 in Karachi. Oil is supplied to NATO forces in Afghanistan from Karachi through tankers.
“These drone attacks are not just a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, they are a violation of all humanitarian laws,” Mr Khan told the Herald.
“Imagine the feeling here, that despite all the sacrifices given by the people of this country, we are more vulnerable than ever before and we stand humiliated,” he said. “People want answers for this, but unfortunately we have the most corrupt and incompetent government.”
He has joined politicians from across Pakistan’s political spectrum in demanding the resignation of the President, Asif Ali Zardari, and the Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, reports the Herald.
“No one believes them in Pakistan, no one believes them abroad,” he said. ”So what are they doing there? They have failed on all fronts.”
Imran earlier said the US operation was a “total disaster for Pakistan”. “Why was the announcement not made by the Pakistan government? Why the rulers kept silent? There is a total confusion over the situation. People want to hear the truth,” he said.
“The worst is that we have completely lost our credibility and we are so vulnerable,” he told the Herald.
“As we have been accused of harbouring the world’s biggest terrorist that means any act of terrorism that takes place anywhere, all fingers will be pointing at Pakistan … the country stands terribly exposed. We could end up paying an even higher price than we have already paid.”