PM Imran says he will meet Afghan Taliban after returning from US

WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he would meet Afghan Taliban after returning to Pakistan for facilitating Afghan peace process.
He was responding to a question at US Institute of Peace here on Tuesday. He said that when he came into power, the Taliban wanted to meet him. However, he added, the Afghan government objected to that meeting, which was cancelled. He said that after meeting President Trump, he would talk to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. He said that now the situation has been cleared after meeting President Trump. He said that he would meet Afghan Taliban after returning to Pakistan.
He said that he always supported peaceful solution to Afghan crisis.
When we met President Trump, the straightforward, charming way he treated us was wonderful, he said, adding , “We were blown over.” “We decided together we will now have a good relationship with the U.S.,” he says.
PM Imran Khan said the country’s taxation system is one of the biggest problems. “Barely 1.5 million pay taxes. There is no way you can sustain the country if you don’t expand the tax base. It is imperative now that Pakistani people pay taxes.
The biggest problem India and Pakistan face is poverty. And the best way to reduce poverty is for us to start trading with each other, he added.
PM Imran Khan said that the SC judgement to free Aasia Bibi was met with violent protests, but the government put the rioters in jail. “The state was held hostage for 2 days but the government took them out and helped Aasia Bibi leave Pakistan safely.”
In his keynote address at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington today (Tuesday), he said he reached out to India after coming into power. But whenever relationship with India starts moving towards normalcy, a sporadic incident again derails it.
Imran Khan said he offered Indian leadership to start trade to overcome the main problem of poverty in both the countries.
The Prime Minister said he also extended a hand of friendship towards Afghanistan. Pakistan, he said, believes there is no military solution to Afghan conflict and there is convergence of views between Pakistan, US and other countries on resolving the conflict in Afghanistan.
Referring to relations with the US, he said Pakistan fought the war on terror as a frontline state and sacrificed seventy thousand lives to counter this menace.
There was a perception in Pakistani people that they had been fighting the US war. He said despite this we were accused by the US that we were not sincere and rather playing a double game.
Imran Khan said Pakistan has sincerely tried to bring Taliban to the negotiation table with the Afghan government representative. He said if we all work together the dream of realization of peace in Afghanistan can be achieved.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has emphasized that corruption of ruling elite is the leading cause of poverty of nations and Pakistan is facing the same dilemma.
He said money swindled through corruption is taken abroad, making the country bankrupt. Consequently, the number of poor people, lack of basic facilities and other problems increase in the country.
Imran Khan said when the ruling elite is involved in corruption, it deliberately destroys the state institutions so that there is no check on their corrupt practices. He said stolen money can be recovered but it takes quite a time to rebuild the destroyed institutions.


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