Washington, July 24 (TNS): Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan needs stability and peace and that requires good relations with neighbors.
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.
When questioned on media freedom in Pakistan, the prime minister said he was the beneficiary of media coverage and limelight and he in no way could become hurdle in freedom of expression. There is no question of Pakistan clamping down on media.
Imran Khan told a questioner that minorities enjoy complete freedom in the country and any steps taken to protect their rights are not under any pressure from outside. Rather, they are equal citizens of the country.