Islamabad, Dec 8 : Pakistan Prime Minister, for the first time, has acknowledged that the 2008 Mumbai terror attack was perpetrated by Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
“I have asked our government to find out the status of the case. Resolving that case is in our interest because it was an act of terrorism,” Khan told Washington Post in his first interview to foreign media since his election as Pakistan’s Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Khan also regretted that his government's repeated overtures for peaceful negotiations with New Delhi had been turned down.
"The ruling party [in India] has an anti-Muslim, anti-Pakistan approach," he pointed out. "Let’s hope that after the election is over, we can again resume talks with India."
He maintained that he wanted the case of the Mumbai attacks to be resolved, adding that he has "asked our government to find out the status of the case".
Khan expressed his desire to have "a proper relationship with the US" akin to Islamabad's ties with China rather than the one "where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun".
The prime minister said: "I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun — given money to fight someone else’s war. It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity."
When asked to elaborate on the ideal nature of relationship that he would like to have with Washington, PM Khan added: "For instance, our relationship with China is not one-dimensional. It’s a trade relationship between two countries. We want a similar relationship with the US."
The prime minister rejected the notion that he is "anti-US", saying that disagreeing with Washington's policies did not make him "anti-American".
"This is a very imperialistic approach: 'You’re either with me or against me'," he said.
When asked if he wanted relations between Pakistan and the US to "warm up", the prime minister responded: "Who would not want to be friends with a superpower?"
The prime minister also condemned the 2011 US operation in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden, saying that it was "humiliating" that the US did not trust Pakistan to kill the terrorist.
"It was humiliating that we were losing our soldiers and civilians and [suffering terrorist] bomb attacks because we were participating in the US war, and then our ally did not trust us to kill bin Laden," he regretted and added that the US "should have tipped off Pakistan".
The prime minister also dismissed US' allegations that there were safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan, saying that the security forces had briefed him on the matter and told him that they had asked Washington "time and time again" to point out where the sanctuaries are.
He insisted that peace in Afghanistan was in Pakistan's interests, and assured that Islamabad would "try [its] best to put pressure on the [Afghan] Taliban" in order to bring them to the table and hold negotiations.
"Putting pressure on the [Afghan] Taliban is easier said than done," he warned. "Bear in mind that about 40 per cent of Afghanistan is now out of the government’s hands."(UNI)