US choosing to blame Pakistan for their failure in Afghanistan: Dastgir

Khurram Dastagir

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence, Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that the Americans are choosing to blame Pakistan for their sixteen-year old failure in Afghanistan.
“A lot of blame game has come to Pakistan. It is one of the reasons (that as) why we have now begun to fence the border. And it is very interesting: now that we say Ok you blame us that we send people across or that some people are crossing over, we will fence the whole 2600 kilometres,” he said in an interview with national radio and TV channel of Belgium, VRT: Flemish Radio and TV.
The minister along with a delegation of parliamentarians was on a four-day visit (January 22-25) to Brussels.
The delegation of parliamentarians included former Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Chairman National Assembly Commerce Committee Siraj Khan and Chairman Senate Commerce Committee, Shibli Faraz.
“But once we have begun to fence, we have done almost well 250 kilometres already, no one is helping us,” the minister said in response to a question on Pak- US relations.
He expressed the hope that the Europeans would convey Pakistan’s point of view to the Americans, who he stated were at the moment not very receptive to Pakistan’s point of view.
“It is to say that again let’s keep the eyes on the prize, as the Americans say. And the prize is a stable democratic Afghanistan,” he maintained. In the context of situation in Afghanistan, the minister said, “They have spent a trillion dollars; they have sacrificed thousands of soldiers, many more injuries. And even now, nearly 45% of Afghanistan is outside the government’s control.”
The minister warned, as long as the situation is unstable in Afghanistan, there would remain unrest in Pakistan.
On the internal security situation of Pakistan, he said the internal security situation had massively improved. “There is no other word for it. I think we have performed a near miracle. So, the whole of Pakistan is now peaceful. We still get some terrorist incidents. But largely, the incidents of terror are down by 80% from their peak in 2012”.
“The murdering of 142 children in Army Public School in 2017 cleared the mind of the people of Pakistan. These were not religious people, these were not anti-American crusaders; these were not nationalist people. They were just evil people who wanted to hurt Pakistan,” he said.
Talking about improvement in Pakistan’s economic situation Khurram Dastgir Khan was of the view that the country was the fastest growing consumer market in the world at the moment.
“There is a lot of interest from international retailers, food outlets, and companies who want to tap Pakistan’s consumer market. As I said, the infrastructure is coming in, and Pakistan is finally, we believe, at the threshold of utilising its potential because of its very strategic geographical location.
“It is something that has given us more trouble in our history. But now finally because of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and the investment that is coming in, that we are about to exploit its potential,” he added. …APP


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