ISLAMABAD   -  Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday said his government will not accept any unjust demand by the United States.

Speaking to television anchorpersons here, the prime minister said Pakistan cannot fight with the US and wanted good ties with the superpower. He, however, added this did not mean that Pakistan will accept any unjust demand by Washington.

The premier’s comments came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Joseph Dunford are preparing to visit Islamabad for talks with the new government. The duo is expected in Islamabad on September 5.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis said Pompeo and General Dunford will meet PM Imran Khan and other Pakistani leaders and discuss relations between the two countries.

He said, “During their meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan and other Pakistani leaders, Secretary of State and General Joseph will clearly ascertain what we have to do.”

Mattis said action against ‘common foes and terrorists’ will remain key issue to discuss during the talks, adding: “It will be made clear to authorities in Pakistan what we have to do for all our nations.”

Imran Khan is known for his criticism of US military policy in Afghanistan but after taking over as the prime minister, he has advocated better ties with the US.

The prime minister said that his government wanted to promote peace in the region and the world. Imran said Pakistan also desired peaceful relations with India, Afghanistan and Iran.

Responding to a question, the premier urged the opposition and the media to judge his governance after at least three months. He said the government had only taken over days earlier and would take time to deliver.

To a question, he said he felt no real threat from the weak and divided opposition. “Three months down the road, there will be a marked difference in the way the country is run,” he promised.

During the marathon session, the prime minister turned down French President Emmanuel Macron’s call twice.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua wanted the prime minister to attend the call but Imran remarked, “Tell him to call in 30 minutes. I am busy here.”

The premier hinted at launching a campaign to collect money from the expatriates to boost the country’s economy.

Prime Minister Khan said the National Accountability Bureau had been directed to continue an indiscriminate accountability process in the country. He assured that the accountability will be held across the board and without any prejudice or discrimination.

Imran Khan said if members of the government were suspected of any indiscretion, they should also be held accountable.

“The criticism of the government helps in resolving issues. We welcome it. When accountability begins, you will hear slogans that democracy is in danger but the process won’t stop,” he maintained.

PM Khan said none of his cabinet members was appointed permanently and could be shuffled on the basis of performance. He expressed his full support for Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, calling him a brave man. The prime minister vowed to cancel all agreements made against national interest.

To a question, he said the purpose of using helicopter for travel to and from his private Banigala residence was aimed at saving citizens from the trouble of traffic holdups.

Imran Khan alleged the previous rulers had spent billions of rupees from the national exchequer on their foreign visits and used bulletproof vehicles in the past. He said he would only make a foreign visit if it benefitted Pakistan.

Regarding the transfer of District Police Officer Pakpattan Rizwan Gondal, Imran said the Supreme Court had taken notice and it will be provided full information.

 

SHAFQAT ALI