— PM Imran says Pakistan’s role in region finally being recognised by US, says it vindicates PTI’s stance
–Slams India for playing politics over Kartarpur corridor opening, hopes New Delhi will respond positively to peace overtures
–Praises govt’s economic teams for performing well in difficult circumstance
–Federal cabinet decides to continue consultations over interim province status for Gilgit-Baltistan
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that he is happy that the United States agreed with his party’s stance that there cannot be a military solution to the Afghan war.
While addressing a federal cabinet meeting, the premier spoke about his meeting with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and said, “Khalilzad was sent by President Trump to discuss the Afghan peace process and I am happy that I met him.”
“I am also happy that for the first time the US has recognised what we [PTI] have been saying for the past 15 years that there cannot be a military solution to the Afghan war,” he said.
“The US wants our help to establish peace in Afghanistan and I always believed that instead of ‘do more’ we should play a role in the Afghan peace process,” the prime minister told his cabinet members.
“We will try our best to establish peace in Afghanistan through dialogue,” he added while lamenting that “we were treated as if we were being given funds to fight someone else’s war”.
“It is good that we have gotten the chance to play the role of a mediator rather than fighting someone else’s war,” PM Imran said, adding that “Pakistan’s role in the region is now being recognised”.
“Pakistan has always played an active role to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and it is a matter of great satisfaction that the United States has recognised Islamabad’s contribution to this effect,” the prime minister was reported as saying.
The premier also spoke about the Yemen issue and said, “I spoke to Saudi Arabia and Iran’s foreign minister regarding establishing peace in Yemen. The Iranian foreign minister asked us to play a role to bring an end to the Yemen war.”
Furthermore, while commenting on the Kartarpur corridor development, PM Imran said, “Unfortunately, India portrayed it as us seeking political advantage. During my swearing-in ceremony when Navjot Singh Sidhu visited we had discussed this.”
“I am glad that the government pressed for the opening of the corridor,” he added.
“If someone’s religious sites are in Pakistan then we should facilitate them. We are not doing anything new, these things were part of our manifesto,” the premier said.
“We have religious sites that are important for Hindus and Buddhists; we should open them up and facilitate the people,” he added.
Expressing happiness over the response from the Sikh community, PM Imran said, “Kartarpur is for them what Medina is for us.”
“We are hopeful that India will also respond positively,” the premier further said.
Furthermore, while commenting on the current state of the economy, the prime minister said, “Our economic teams performed in difficult circumstances and I want to give special credit to the finance, commerce and planning ministries.”
“Investment is coming in Pakistan but opponents make it seem that the country is in crisis,” he asserted and questioned how investment could have come in a crisis situation.
“Major multi-national companies have decided to invest millions of dollars in the country. A school will be opened for the transfer of technology and training to our people and credit for all this goes to our economic teams.”
“Our economic teams created an environment favourable for investment even in difficult times. Investments lead the country towards progress,” he stressed.
‘80% CABINET DECISIONS IMPLEMENTED’:
Meanwhile, a report presented in the federal cabinet stated that 80% implementation has been carried out on the decisions taken in earlier meetings.
Moreover, the cabinet members reviewed amendments in reforms for Gilgit-Baltistan and decided to continue consultations regarding granting it the status of an interim province.
The cabinet also approved formation of a new board of trustees for Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and appointment of chairman Port Qasim Authority, sources added.
The agreements between anti-narcotics forces of Pakistan and Canada were also approved by the cabinet.
In addition, the cabinet approved the launching of a Rs50 coin to mark World Anti-Corruption Day, sources said.