Pakistan no longer in business of offering military bases, says Moeed Yusuf
ISLAMABAD: National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf claimed that Pakistan was no longer in the business of offering military bases, but its economic bases were open for all.
In an interview with the BBC World News programme, Hard Talk, on Wednesday, Dr Yusuf reiterated that an unstable Afghanistan could give birth to a refugee crisis which may provide more space to international terrorist organizations.
The NSA enunciated Pakistan’s policy shift, stance on Afghanistan situation and economic goals under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
While replying to Stephen Sackur’s questions about Afghanistan new government and the global response, he said, “If you do not like 30 people make sure that 30 million die. This is what are you saying? Just understand the connotation of what are you saying.”
Dr Yusuf clarified that he was not defending the Taliban, rather the world should have a conversation with them.
“Our message to the Afghan Taliban is identical to what the world is saying more inclusivity, no terrorism from Afghan soil, human rights for all and this what we want.”
Economic crisis, humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan
Quoting the UNDP Head in Afghanistan, he said, “It is the worst economic crisis and humanitarian disaster we have ever witnessed” on the prevailing crisis in the war-torn country.
“22.8 mln people are facing an acute food shortage, 70 per cent apportioning food, one million children acutely malnourished. That’s the reality I have to face in Pakistan.”
“Pakistan is the country that helped more than any other country and evacuated 49,000 people of 75 countries, and created a land and air bridge to Afghanistan, asking the world to channel whatever they want from us free of cost,”
Dr Yusuf said while highlighting the country’s assistance to NATO forces while leaving Afghanistan.
He regretted that the donor agencies like the UN and ICRC were crying as no money could be brought into Afghanistan due to embargoes on banking channels.
The NSA informed that Pakistan shared a lengthy 1,600 miles border with Afghanistan, and its experience of four decades depicted that four 4 million refugees were still in Pakistan after 40 years.
“Compare this to the EU, UK and US reactions towards refugees shown up to your shores,” he asked the BBC anchorperson Stephen Sackur.
“The moment Afghanistan is unstable, my country goes unstable as we have a centuries-old porous border which will cause refugee, terrorism, drugs flow over into Pakistan,” he cautioned.
Dr Yusuf said that Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted any government in Afghanistan but with a stable state as any instability or collapse in Afghanistan, would hurt Pakistan the very next day.
“As NSA of Pakistan, it is my right to tell the world and as [the] prime minister [of Pakistan], it is his right to tell the world that the way the international community is approaching Afghanistan, it is heading for collapse and we are going to get hurt by it.”
Pakistan, a victim of Afghan war
The NSA added that Pakistan was not the one that brought war to Afghanistan, rather was the principal victim of this war.
“We didn’t have suicide bombings in our country before 9/11. Since 9/11 over, 80,000 causalities of Pakistanis, which the West, just likes to wish away. Over $150 billion were lost in the economy, 3.5 million internally displaced persons, and faced millions of Afghan refugees. You think, are we mad? We would be abetting something which would bring such disaster to my country?”
Dr Yusuf said Afghanistan was recognized by the UK and the US, and others for facilitating the Doha peace process whose endpoint should have been a genuinely inclusive government.
Disagreeing with Sackur at the beginning of the show, he said, “I object to your opening presenting as if Pakistan was behind all what happened. We did not aid or abet anybody there was a policy employed by the US and others who were in Afghanistan.”
— Moeed W. Yusuf (@YusufMoeed) December 8, 2021
There was always a failing policy in Afghanistan. The only country that kept saying that you would not get any military solution in Afghanistan was Pakistan, he added.
“There is a government that many do not like, and it is not recognized. It is on a war against many countries, but there are 35-40 million afghans who have nothing to do with this.”
“Let us agree that they need to be fed immediately, and I am increasingly concluding that the world probably do not care,” Dr Yusuf regretted.
‘When I talk about Kashmir, I am talking about my people’
To a question, the NSA said, “When I talk about Kashmir, I am talking about my people, not foreign nationals and also an illegally occupied territory (IIOJK) recognized as a dispute by the UN, and this is my right to speak about my people and not speaking about any foreign country at that point in time.”
Commenting on the Pak-US ties and CPEC, he said, “Pakistan is offering economic bases to the entire world for increased investment in the region under the game-changer CPEC project as per its major policy shift from geostrategic to geo-economic paradigm.”
Dr Yusuf said that Pakistan made a major transition in its all approach and thinking from geostrategic to geo-economic paradigm.
“We look at ourselves as a melting pot for global economic interests. It’ i one key pillar is connectivity, and the other is developing partnerships.”
‘Pakistan no longer in business of offering military bases’
He added that Pakistan wanted the entire world to come and coexist in it in terms of economics.
“We are no longer in the business of offering military bases, but our economic bases are open for all,” he stressed.
Highlighting Pakistan’s critical strategic relationship with China, he said, “But that is not at the cost of any other country that is what our geo-economic paradigm is all about.”
He elaborated that there were no military bases in Gwadar rather economic basis and added, “We offered the same to the US, the middle east and Russia. Anybody who wants to come and invest in Pakistan, we are open.”
The NSA mentioned that the CPEC was energy and road infrastructure that anybody could benefit from and invest in Pakistan.
Replying to another query, Dr Yusuf categorically said, “On the Xinjiang issue, not only our ambassador in Beijing rather teams from here went there. We have a relationship of trust with China, and we are completely open.”
“We do not accept the Western description of Xinjiang that is set, and if the west has concerns, you have every right, talk to China, which is a sovereign country raise your concerns to them”.
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