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Will not allow Pakistan to be treated like a 'hired gun' to fight someone else's war: PM Khan

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Khan has said he would not allow to be treated like a "hired gun" to fight someone else's war, amid growing demands from the to do more to combat terrorism emanating from its soil.

The ties between and strained, especially after Donald Trump, while announcing his and policy in August last year, hit out at for providing safe havens to "agents of chaos" that kill Americans in

In September, the cancelled USD 300 million in military aid to for not doing enough against terror groups. Last month, Trump said castigated once again, saying it was not doing "a damn thing" for in curbing terrorism.

Khan, in an interview with Post on Thursday, said: "I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun given money to fight someone else's war," Khan said, referring to the 1980s war against the and the ongoing war on terror.

"It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity," he said.

When asked to elaborate on the ideal nature of relationship that he would like to have with Washington, Khan added: "For instance, our relationship with is not one-dimensional. It's a trade relationship between two countries. We want a similar relationship with the US."

The said Pakistan was not "hedging" towards China, rather it was Washington's attitude which had brought a change in the bilateral relationship.

The cricketer-turned-politician rejected the notion that he was "anti-US", saying that disagreeing with Washington's policies did not make him "anti-American".

"This is a very imperialistic approach. 'You're either with me or against me'," he said.

When asked if he wanted relations between Pakistan and the US to "warm up", Khan responded: "Who would not want to be friends with a superpower?"

This week, Khan said Trump wrote to him, seeking Pakistan's help in bringing the Afghan to the negotiating table to end the 17-year-long war in

Khan, who has long been critical about Pakistan's role in the war on terror, said his country wants "peace with all".

"Thank (God) that today, the same people who were asking to do more are now asking us to help them in Afghanistan, to establish peace and to negotiate," he said.

He emphasised that did not want the US to leave Afghanistan in a hurry as they did in 1989.

"The last thing we want is to have chaos in Afghanistan. There should be a settlement this time. In 1989, what happened was the emerged out of the chaos," he said.

Khan condemned the 2011 covert US operation in that killed Al Qaida Osama bin Laden, who was hiding in the Pakistani garrison city.

Khan said it was "humiliating" that the US did not trust Pakistan to kill the most wanted terrorist.

"It was humiliating that we were losing our soldiers and civilians and [suffering terrorist] bomb attacks because we were participating in the US war, and then our ally did not trust us to kill bin Laden," he regretted and added that the US "should have tipped off Pakistan".

Khan also dismissed US' allegations that there were safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan, saying that the security forces had briefed him on the matter and told him that they had asked "time and time again" to point out where the sanctuaries are.

However, he did not discount the possibility of some Afghan Taliban, "maybe 2,000 to 3,000" crossing the border under the guise of refugees and residing in camps.

The prime minister also discussed his recent spat with US Trump, clarifying that it was not a "war, it was just setting the record right".

He said the exchange of words with President Trump on was "about being blamed for deeply flawed the military approach to Afghanistan."

The prime minister reiterated his plan to end poverty from Pakistan, with or without the International Monetary Fund's bailout.

He said Pakistan has received monetary help from Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, but said the latter two countries wanted the figures to remain "confidential".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, December 07 2018. 22:11 IST