ISLAMABAD, Sep 20 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan will always stand with Saudi Arabia in difficult times and would not let any other country attack it.
“This is a stated position of all our governments that we will not allow anyone to attack Saudi Arabia. We will stand by Saudi Arabia,” Imran Khan said in an interview with Saudi Gazette on Wednesday when sought his response on the attacks by Houthi militias that regularly fired missiles toward Saudi Arabia.
On the Middle East conflict, Imran Khan said it was distressing to see conflict among Muslim nations and added that Pakistan would like to play a re-conciliatory role in bringing the Muslim world closer.
However, Imran Khan stressed that he was not a believer of military solution and felt that every conflict had a political solution. He said Pakistan could play a positive role in Yemen conflict.
About relations with Saudi Arabia, he said the government of Saudi Arabia had always been very generous to Pakistan in times of need.
“Saudi Arabia always has been of great help for us. There is a special bond with Saudi Arabia. All Pakistanis want Saudi Arabia to be secure and prosperous,” he said.
Explaining the reason why he chose to visit Saudi Arabia for the first foreign tour as prime minister, Imran Khan said Saudi Arabia had a special place in the hearts of all Muslims and it was but natural for a Muslim leader to visit Makkah and Madina.
“I am visiting Saudi Arabia because I was kindly invited by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and as a Muslim I should visit Makkah and Madina. And, of course, historically whenever a leader wins an election in Pakistan, the first visit is always to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
To a question about his foreign policy, the prime minister said Pakistan has suffered a lot in the war against terrorism, resulting the death of 88,000 Pakistanis besides $100 billion loss to the economy.
“ Our tribal areas along the Afghanistan border have been devastated. So what we now want is peace, stability. To get stability we need peace with all our neighbors. We already have very good relationship with China; we need good relationship with Afghanistan and India. We have made overtures to both. We want to develop our relations with both Afghanistan and India, a relationship based on mutual trust. Unfortunately this is what has been missing. Pakistan has one point of view, but India and Afghanistan have another point of view. What is lacking is the lack of trust. So we want to build our relationships based on mutual trust,”the prime minister said.
The prime minister said Iran was our neighbor and of course, Pakistan wanted good relationship with all neighbors.
About any scope of Saudi Arabia investing in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, the prime minister said CPEC was one of the greatest opportunities which allowed people to invest in Pakistan. He said CPEC connected Pakistan from sea right up to China and all along the way there would be industrial zones which would be great opportunity for the people to invest.
In future, he said, inshAllah once peace came in Afghanistan then the same road would connect Pakistan to Central Asia because CPEC could go through Afghanistan to Central Asia. “So this whole area is where the future is, I mean huge markets and inshaAllah when relationship is improved with India, then you have huge market in Indian side, Chinese market, Central Asian markets,”the prime minister added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said the geostrategic position of Pakistan was such that as if governance system was fix this was one of the best places to invest in. Pakistan has tremendous opportunities of investments. It has more potential probably than other countries in this region, he said.
Regarding his government approach to resolve Pakistan’s multiple problems, the prime minister said his first priority was to change the governance system and mindset of the people. “We will bring people out of poverty as China has taken out 700 million people out of poverty in past 30 years,” he said.
The prime minister said his second priority was to invest money on human beings rather than on infrastructure. Once you develop human resources they themselves invest in infrastructure. So the key is health, education, clean drinking water, justice, he added.
The priority number three is to build strong institutions, he said, adding, countries are built on institutions. The reason the West is ahead of Muslims is that it has strong institutions. The state institutions should be strong and individuals should not be above institutions, the prime minister added.