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I am not ‘anti-Indian’ or ‘anti-American’, says Pak. PM Imran Khan

A resident stands beside a picture of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan as he looks at the morning newspapers displayed for sale at a roadside stall in Islamabad on April 4, 2022.

A resident stands beside a picture of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan as he looks at the morning newspapers displayed for sale at a roadside stall in Islamabad on April 4, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

Claiming that he was not "anti-Indian or anti-American" or against any country, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said he wanted good relations with all nations based on mutual respect.

Addressing a televised public interaction programme, a day after members of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party blocked a vote of no-confidence against him in the National Assembly and got President Arif Alvi to dissolve the lower house, Khan attacked the Opposition parties.

The joint opposition's strategy of looking towards the Supreme Court instead of preparing for elections following the dissolution of the National Assembly was a sign that it "fears the reaction of the public," he said.

Responding to a question amidst the controversy over an alleged foreign letter that threatened his government, Mr. Khan, who has been asked to continue as Prime Minister by the president till a caretaker premier was appointed, said he was not against foreign countries.

"I am not against any country. I am not anti-Indian or anti-American. But we can be against policies. I want friendship with them and there should be respect," Mr. Khan was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

Mr. Khan said that he did not feel mal-intent towards the U.S., but rather aimed towards a mutual friendship with the superpower, free from interference in domestic affairs against public interest, The Express Tribune reported.

He said he was against countries that disrespect other sovereign countries and simply issue orders. He called out Opposition parties, alleging that "they served these foreign countries as their yes man".

Mr. Khan's comments came a day after he named senior U.S. diplomat Donald Lu as the person who was allegedly involved in the "foreign conspiracy" to topple his government through a no-confidence vote tabled by the Opposition.

In recent days, Mr. Khan, known for his anti-India rhetoric, has been praising New Delhi's independent foreign policy.

Mr. Khan in his Q&A session said he wanted to tell his nation to never "become slaves" to any country just because of being under debt.

"In that case, death is better than slavery." Mr. Khan said he opposed the US-led war in Afghanistan, but he had never been anti-US.

He further said that he wanted good relations with all the countries based on mutual respect, adding that he would not accept any policies which were against the interests of the people of Pakistan. “Death is better than such servitude,” he was quoted as saying by the official APP news agency.

The Prime Minister said that it was an insult to the whole country when a ruler of 220 million people held talks with the president of a powerful country by holding a paper in his hand.

Imran Khan blasts opposition parties

Mr. Khan blasted the Opposition parties for looking towards the Supreme Court for relief instead of preparing for elections.

On Sunday, members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party blocked a vote of no-confidence against Khan in the National Assembly and got President Arif Alvi to dissolve the lower house. Pakistan's Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing in the matter.

Taking part in a live programme "Aap Ka Wazir-e-Azam, Aap Kay Saath" (Your Minister, with you) from Islamabad on Monday, Mr. Khan answered the questions from the general public.

“The Opposition parties are afraid of the reaction of the public and avoiding the elections which they were demanding,” he said.

In order to increase his contact with the people, he announced to take part in a protest rally at D-Chowk, just outside the capital's red zone, being held by his supporters. "The peaceful protest will be staged after Isha (night) prayers against treason by [opposition] politicians," he said.

Mr. Khan also defended the decision of the National Assembly's deputy speaker, Qasim Suri, to reject the no-confidence motion by saying it was based on a "foreign conspiracy".

"I want this trend to end where anyone with Rs 20 billion could topple the government. This is unacceptable and tantamount to discrediting democracy," he said.

He accused the Opposition that it was using money to buy loyalty of provincial lawmakers in Lahore where the assembly would elect a new chief minister this week.

Talking about new elections, Khan said he would interview all candidates seeking the ticket of his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

Responding to a question, he rejected the impression of being against any country. “I am not against any country. I am not anti-Indian or anti-American. But we can be against policies. I want friendship with them and there should be respect,” he said.

But hastened to add that he was against countries that disrespect other sovereign countries and simply issue orders, an oblique reference to the US. Mr. Khan's comments came a day after he named senior US diplomat Donald Lu as the person who was allegedly involved in the "foreign conspiracy" to topple his government through a no-confidence vote tabled by the Opposition.

He said a nation should never "become slaves" to any country just because of being under debt. "In that case, death is better than slavery,” he said.

Mr. Khan also said his party will win the elections.


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Printable version | Apr 5, 2022 9:45:25 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/i-am-not-anti-indian-or-anti-american-says-pak-pm-imran-khan/article65291062.ece