Pakistan wants recognition of sacrifices made in fighting terror: Minister Iqbal


WASHINGTON, Feb.9 (APP):Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said in an interview to BBC aired on Thursday that Pakistan did not want US aid but recognition of huge sacrifices it has made in fighting terrorism.
He said that the tweet President Trump made against Pakistan was very “discourteous”, but Islamabad made a very measured response as the government still believed there was an opportunity and great value in Pakistan-US cooperation to bring peace in Afghanistan.
The Minister, in an earlier interview to the leading US newspaper Washington Post, had stated that the solution to the Afghan problem was not possible without close cooperation between Pakistan and the United States.
However, the Minister added that Pakistan was a nation that got independence for its dignity and will never compromise on it and that had been made clear during the visits made by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis to Islamabad in October.
“If you offer people of Pakistan a cup of poison with dignity, they might drink it, but if you offer people of Pakistan a cup of honey under duress and under coercion, they will refuse to drink it.
“We have made very big sacrifice for fighting war against terrorism. We don’t want any dollar; we want an understanding and recognition for sacrifices that Pakistan has made.”
Responding to a question on China Pakistan Economic Corridor ( CPEC), Minister Iqbal said that the multi-billion dollar initiative was a game-changer for Pakistan by bringing new opportunities, optimism and attracting world investors towards the country.
“It has brought new momentum and had created job opportunities. It has revived cement, construction industry,” he added.
On the suspension of US security aid, the Minister said that unfortunately, Pakistan was not receiving very heavy military aid in recent years. “But we certainly look forward to having a strong partnership with US,” he added.
When asked if Chinese investment and aid would take pressure off from Pakistan, the Minister replied in negative, but added that it did bring great strength to Pakistan’s economy because its economy was not having foreign investment in big scale.