Imran denies ‘camp politics’

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Talking about the Pakistan-Russia economic relations, Khan said that the gas pipeline project with Russia suffered because the companies involved in the project had been sanctioned by the US….writes Hamza Ameer

 Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the country will no longer be taking sides or playing “camp politics” and will be working towards increasing trade relations with countries to get itself out of poverty.

In an interview to Russia Today, Khan said Pakistan was no longer in a position to take sides in conflicts between two countries, adding that the Cold War ravaged the world in the past.

Khan said Pakistan opted to join the US camp because it needed money, especially after the inflow of millions of refugees from Afghanistan, who had migrated from the war torn country and had camped in Pakistan.

However, khan insisted that Pakistan should have left the financial reliance on US.

“But the country should have left the US camp after a decade or so and pursued an independent policy. Reliance on foreign aid is a curse,” he said.

“Such aid stops a country from evolving and developing and becoming self-reliant. The reliance on hand-outs stops a country from becoming independent.”

Khan said it was because of the financial reliance on the US that “Pakistan could not establish trade relations with the Central Asian states because of its proximity to the US and theirs to Soviet Union”.

“This time, Pakistan will not join any camp,” Khan said, making it seemingly clear that Pakistan will not be taking any sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

This holds great importance because the statement comes at a time when the Prime Minister is embarking a two-day visit to Russia, where he will be meeting with his counterpart Vladimir Putin and discussing various issues including climate change, Russia-Ukraine conflict, Afghanistan crisis and bilateral relations between Islamabad and Moscow.

Talking about the Pakistan-Russia economic relations, Khan said that the gas pipeline project with Russia suffered because the companies involved in the project had been sanctioned by the US.

“Finding a Russian company that was not sanctioned by the US became a problem. Pakistan could also get gas from Iran but it cannot since there was the US sanctions on the country,” he added.

Talking about the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Khan hoped that the crisis resolves peacefully.

“If we read reports in the western media, there is an imminent war between Russia and Ukraine on the cards. And clearly, western countries take a very oppositional, I would even say inimical view to Russia,” he said.

However, Khan said that Islamabad is not concerned about the Russia-Ukraine crisis and would prefer to expand its geopolitical horizon through strengthened bilateral relations with Russia.

Khan urged that he did not believe that global powers could resolve their conflicts through military solutions, adding that he believed civilized societies resolve their differences through dialogues.

Taking use of the opportunity, khan also spoke about the longstanding dispute of Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan, stating that he offered India in 2018, to sit down at the table and resolve it, but to no avail.

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