Imran Khan says ‘no’ to U.S. bases in Pakistan, refuses to condemn China over Uyghurs

Imran Khan Editorial credit: Awais khan / Shutterstock.com

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he will not allow any U.S. bases or troops on Pakistani territory to launch operations against Afghanistan. 

However, in an interview with the American media outlet Axios, Khan also refused to condemn China over its actions against the Uyghurs.

The interview came after CIA director William Burns flew to Pakistan to conduct talks with the head of the ISI, Faiz Hameed.

Below is a transcript of Khan’s comments on U.S. forces in Pakistan:

Jonathan Swan (Axios): The Americans want to have their spies here and special forces based here in Pakistan to keep an eye on what’s happening across the border. Will you allow the American government to have CIA here in Pakistan to conduct cross border counter terrorism missions against Al Qaeda, ISIS or the Taliban?

Imran Khan: Absolutely not. There is no way we are going to allow any bases, any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties, more than any other country, by joining the American war. We cannot afford any more military actions from our territory. We will be partners in peace, not in conflict.

Jonathan Swan: The American military right now is discussing doing air strikes potentially to support the Afghan forces against the Taliban. Would you allow the American air force to use your air space for those airstrikes?

Imran Khan: We are not going to be part of any conflict any more… This hasn’t been discussed at all… Why would the Americans be bombing Afghanistan after it hasn’t worked for 20 years, why would it work again?

Uyghurs Editorial credit: Huseyin Aldemir / Shutterstock.com

And below is a transcript of Khan’s comments on China and the Uyghurs:

Jonathan Swan: Just across your border in western China the Chinese government has imprisoned more than one million Uyghur Muslims in re-education camps, the Chinese government has tortured Muslims, forcibly sterilised them and they have destroyed mosques in Xinjiang and also punished Muslims for fasting, praying and even giving Muslim names to their children. Prime Minister, why are you so outspoken about Islamophobia in Europe and the United States but totally silent about the genocide of Muslims in western China?

Imran Khan: What our conversations have been with the Chinese this is not the case according to them… Whatever issues we have with the Chinese we speak to them behind closed doors. China has been one of the greatest friends to us in our most difficult times. When we were really struggling, our economy was struggling, China came to our rescue so we respect the way they are and whatever issues we have we speak behind closed doors.

How come this is such a big issue in the Western world? Why are the people of Kashmir being ignored? It is much more relevant compared to what might be going on with the Uyghurs. 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed, there are 800,000 Indian troops, it’s an open prison in Kashmir, 9 million Kashmiris are there. Why is that not an issue? I think it’s hypocrisy.

Jonathan Swan: They’ve been a huge partner for you China, but on some level doesn’t it make you feel sick to have to be quiet because of all this money that they’re putting into Pakistan?

Imran Khan: I look around the world. What’s happening in Palestine, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan. Am I going to start talking about everything? I concentrate on what is happening on my border in my country…. 100,000 Kashmiris dying, that concerns me more.

Jonathan Swan: This is a grotesquely large human rights atrocity.

Imran Khan: First of all I’m not sure about that because our conversations with the Chinese, this is not the picture.

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