Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday termed the ‘war on terror’ as an “imposed war” on Pakistan and promised to never fight such a war inside his country, in a veiled attack on US president Donald Trump who has repeatedly accused Islamabad of not helping America in its fight against terrorism.
“We have fought an imposed war inside our country as our war at a very heavy cost of sweat and blood and lose to our socio-economic fibre…We shall not fight any such war again inside Pakistan,” Khan told tribal elders during his first visit to the newly-merged tribal districts of North Waziristan – once a stronghold of Taliban militants.
Khan, who was accompanied by Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, hailed achievements of the army, other security forces and intelligence agencies for their successful operations against terrorists.
“No other country or their armed forces have done what Pakistan and its armed forces have done in the war against terrorism,” Khan said, apparently referring to Trump who has accused Pakistan of not helping the US in its fight against terrorism.
Khan’s remarks came days after Trump reiterated that the USD 1.3 billion in aid to Pakistan will remain suspended until the country acts against militant safe heavens inside its territory.
The US, which is fighting the Taliban militants since 2001 in Afghanistan, continues to seek an exit strategy from the troubled country and in recent months Washington has held direct talks with the Taliban representatives to end the 17 year long war.
During his visit to tribal areas, Khan was briefed in details about operations conducted, ongoing operations, rehabilitation of displaced people, socio-economic development projects and fencing along Pak-Afghanistan border, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations – the media wing of the army.
Khan promised to play role in peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“We are for peace beyond borders especially in Afghanistan. We shall play our role in Afghan peace process along with other stake holders as peace in Afghanistan is critical for achieving enduring peace in Pakistan,” he said.
The Prime Minister also announced various welfare projects in the fields of health, education, employment and administration for the newly established districts of former tribal area.
The seven former regions of Federally Administered Tribal Areas were earlier this year merged with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, ending a more than century old colonial legacy. But the areas are still impoverished.
Khan announced announced police reforms and resolve to address law and order and provide alternative dispute resolution system for the tribes.
He also announced to set up a medical college along with hospital for North Waziristan and South Waziristan districts, university for North Waziristan, army cadet college for North Wazirsitan, health insurance cards to residents of merged districts and Tele-medics system to fulfill deficiencies of specialist doctors.
Provision of interest-free loans, computers and development of sports grounds were among other several facilities offered by the prime minister for the former tribal region to bring it at par with other regions of the country.
Khan also visited Ghulam Khan crossing terminal on Afghan border as well as border fencing. He addressed local elders and appreciated tribesmen who had gone through a very challenging and difficult times while facing terrorism.
(With PTI inputs)