As the US prepares for a withdrawal from Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has opened up how Pakistan was not acknowledged for its sacrifices and was rather disrespected across the world. He also came down hard on past regimes for not taking a principled stance against the United States and being dragged in a lengthy war of terror.
The prime minister delivered a wide-ranging speech in the National Assembly which was even cheered by his main adversaries JUI-F when he categorically reiterated that Pakistan can partner with US in peace, but never in war. Pakistan is preparing for the post-withdrawal by standing up to the US and the follies of the past governments who decided to join the war and unleashed a wave of terrorism across the country during which Pakistan lost over 70,000 lives and billions in economic losses.
The war of terror also led to drone attacks against tribal areas where the terrorists were holed up but the locals were collateral damage. The attacks violated all forms of international law but no action was ever taken. The prime minister has called it the ‘darkest period’ in our history. According to a report, there were 409 drone attacks till 2017 which killed over 3.096 people including militants. There has been no drone ever since the PTI government has come to power.
The situation in Afghanistan is dangerous and Pakistan is preparing for the fallout. The US is also in a quandary and has threatened to launch airstrikes against the Taliban if it does not stop advancing across the country. The US now wants Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table for a political settlement. Pakistan has claimed to have no leverage over the Taliban and that it will accept how the Afghans want to be governed without any outside interference.
Pakistan is contemplating what it gained and actually lost from the war on terror. The prime minister said we disrespected ourselves and the world did respect us. After the Abbottabad raid, he said overseas Pakistan were hiding their faces to avoid embarrassment. But now Pakistan has stood up against the US and said ‘No More’ after being told it was not doing enough in the war of terror. These policies certainly hint at the changing scenario in the region and diminishing US influence.