Islamabad - PTI Chairman Imran Khan said Saturday that meeting US President Donald Trump would be a "bitter pill" to swallow should he become Pakistan's prime minister in elections later this year, but added "I would meet him."

In a press briefing, Khan said he has been a staunch opponent of Pakistan's participation in the war on terror since it began in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks on the US.

"Pakistan had nothing to do with it," he said, adding that he supported cooperation with the United States but not co-opting Pakistan's military into a ground battle with its own people in the tribal regions that border Afghanistan and where Afghan insurgents hide.

Pakistanis are still outraged two weeks after Trump's New Year's Day tweet accusing Islamabad of "deceit and lies", and of taking $33 billion in aid over 15 years while harbouring Afghan insurgents, who are attacking American soldiers in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Khan said that Trump scapegoated Pakistan for the US-led coalition's failure to defeat the Taleban and bring peace to Afghanistan, and that "it was very insulting of him."

Should he become Pakistan's prime minister, Khan said "yes we would talk," referring to Trump, but added that the US dishonours the memory of thousands of Pakistan's soldiers who died battling insurgents in its tribal regions, as well as that of tens of thousands of Pakistanis who died in terrorist attacks.

"The way the United States has treated Pakistan as a doormat is not fair," he said.

Khan's observations come amid renewed US criticism and withholding of security assistance to Pakistan over its alleged failure to take decisive action against militant groups hostile to the US.

On Friday, the Pakistan Army disclosed that the US has assured Pakistan that no unilateral action on its territory is being planned despite the suspension of military aid and a flurry of hostile statements.

At the press conference, Khan also said he was committed to “mainstreaming” tens of thousands of madressahs (religious seminaries) in the country. He said he wants madressah graduates to have skills that will allow them to find jobs across all sectors.

“We will train their teachers to bring them into the mainstream,” he said, without providing details on how that would be accomplished.

Meanwhile, the core committee of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Saturday voiced its support to the protest of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek in Lahore and has directed all regional presidents to ensure availability of maximum supporters to become part of latter’s protest rally over Model Town tragedy.

An emergency meeting of the party’s senior leadership that met in Bani Gala under the chair of the PTI chief, Imran Khan, decided that the party’s regional presidents would ensure maximum number of supporters and activists to join the PAT protest.

The PAT chief, Dr Tahirul Qadri, had announced an anti-PML-N movement from January 17 after the January 7 deadline of a multi-party conference expired that demanded resignations of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah over Model Town carnage.

The PAT has announced a rally in Lahore on January 17 to mark their protest against the ruling PML-N and the Punjab government demanding justice over the killings of their workers in Model Town through the hands of the police.

Earlier, the PTI had announced that it would join the PAT protest on January 18 with full force and with maximum number of supporters.

However, a PTI leader told The Nation that the party leadership earlier was of the view that perhaps the PAT would extend its protest for more days but now it had become clear its protest would be one-day.

“So we will join Dr Tahirul Qadri’s announced protest on that day,” he added.

The core committee also reiterated party’s demand to merge the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) into the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and dubbed the approval of the federal government’s bill through the National Assembly, which extended the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court (PHC) to the tribal areas, as insufficient.

The meeting also said that PTI would take Hudaibiya Paper Mills case to its logical end and again take up the issue with Supreme Court under the principle of public interest, if the National Accountability Bureau did not take action.

The meeting also discussed in detail the merger of the FATA into the KP.

The PTI termed approval of federal government’s bill to extend jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the PHC to the FATA as insufficient and demanded to implement the FATA Reforms Package wholly in the tribal areas.