General

US president’s remarks are akin to belittling our sacrifices, Ahsan Iqbal

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday lashed out at the incumbent US administration, saying that no one has the right to label Pakistan a ‘liar’ given its sizable contribution to the so-called ‘War on Terror’.
In a strongly worded speech, he also reminded US President Donald Trump how the region’s terrorism-marred past is actually the US’s own doing.
Speaking at the Police Lines in Islamabad, the interior minister was responding to the US president’s recent criticism of Pakistan as a ‘lying’ and ‘deceiving’ nation.
“No one has the right to call Pakistan a liar when it has made the biggest sacrifices in the war against terror,” the minister said.
“The US president’s recent remarks are akin to belittling our sacrifices. We are a dignified nation and no one has the right to attack our dignity.”
Iqbal also brought up the Soviet–Afghan War of the late ’70s and ’80s to remind Trump that the radicalisation of Afghanistan, which the US now detests, actually began at its own behest..
“I want to remind the US that these thorns are your inventions,” said Iqbal. “As soon as the war against the Soviets ended, you withdrew and went home without thinking what your radicalizing of Afghanistan to create an anti-Soviet narrative would lead to. The seeds of the extremist views you used to win that war weren’t going to suddenly start producing computer chips: they were going to breed terrorism and extremism.”
“The Pakistani nation is still paying for those seeds that you planted,” he said.
The interior minister further said that the US did nothing for the 3.5 million Afghan refugees Pakistan allowed into its territory during the Soviet-Afghan war.
“Not one Syrian refugee is given entry into the US but we allowed 3.5m Afghan refugees who had come to Pakistan to fight your war against the Soviets; what did you ever do for them?” he questioned.
The minister also said that Pakistani forces’ anti-terrorism drive is the very reason terrorism remains in check in the region.
“We are playing an integral role at both international and regional levels to maintain international peace,” he said. “We have battled forces that are headquartered in Afghanistan. We have sacrificed our troops in [Operation] Raddul Fasad to rid this region of this menace.”
Iqbal also advised the Trump administration to not let itself get manipulated by India, saying: “If President Trump and company want peace in Afghanistan, they should see it from their own perspective and not India’s.”
Reiterating that Afghanistan’s stability is of utmost importance to Pakistan, he said: “Pakistan is the only country that shares such a large border with Afghanistan. Hence, I want to respectfully tell President Trump that no one has more at stake in Afghanistan’s stability than Pakistan”.