partlycloudy
Tuesday September 25th, 2018 7:00PM

Pakistan's Imran Khan talks US relations as elections loom

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Famed cricketer turned politician Imran Khan said Saturday that meeting U.S. 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, who has an international reputation as a ladies man and at home is seen more as a religious conservative, 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 U.S.

"Pakistan had nothing to do with it," he said, adding that he supported co-operation 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 harboring Afghan insurgents, who are attacking American soldiers in neighboring Afghanistan.

Khan said that Trump scapegoated Pakistan for the U.S.-led coalition's failure to defeat the Taliban 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 U.S. dishonors 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.

Pakistan's politics have been in turmoil since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was dismissed from power last year on corruption charges and a party faithful, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, was sworn in as prime minister until new elections are held. Khan referred to Sharif's family, which dominates the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML), as "a political mafia" that he vowed to defeat at the polls.

It's still not clear what kind of government Khan envisions for Pakistan. While he praises liberals outside Pakistan as anti-war and committed to humanitarian values and freedom of speech, he rails against Pakistani liberals, chastising them for supporting the military operations in the tribal regions.

Khan also raised eyebrows when he announced an electoral alliance with Maulana Sami-ul Haq, a firebrand Islamic cleric, whose hard-line Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary taught several of Afghanistan's senior Taliban leaders. Haq remains a close ally of Afghanistan's Taliban.

Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party rules Pakistan's Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KPK) province, which borders Afghanistan, as part of a coalition government that includes the religious Jamaat-e-Islami party. Khan's provincial government has also given millions of Pakistani rupees to Haq, whose Haqqania seminary is located in KPK.

At the press briefing, Khan said he was committed to "mainstreaming" Pakistan's tens of thousands of madrassas, or religious seminaries, which provide the only education for more than 2 million children, many of them among the poorest. The seminaries are often charged with promoting sectarianism.

He said he wants madrassa school graduates to have skills that will allow them to find jobs across all sectors. As it stands, madrassa graduates are ill-equipped to work as anything other than clerics or prayer leaders.

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

Khan has called for early elections, which should be held by July in keeping with the Constitution.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Christ statue in Peru damaged by fire days before pope visit
A giant Christ statue in Peru's capital has been damaged by fire days before Pope Francis is set to arrive in the South American nation
12:31PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Pakistan's Imran Khan talks US relations as elections loom
Famed cricketer turned politician says 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 "I would meet him."
12:27PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Josh Donaldson agrees to $23M, 1-year deal with Blue Jays
Third baseman Josh Donaldson and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a $23 million contract, the largest one-year deal for an arbitration-eligible player, topping Bryce Harper's $21,625,000 salary this year with Washington
12:20PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Czech president will face runoff election with strong lead
Czech President Milos Zeman failed to win re-election during the first round of voting on Saturday and will face a runoff election in two weeks against the former head of the country's Academy of Sciences
12:07PM ( 50 minutes ago )
The Latest: Czech president willing to debate challenger
Czech President Milos Zeman says he is ready to debate challenger Jiri Drahos before the second round of the country's presidential election in two weeks
11:37AM ( 1 hour ago )
Missouri governor inspired disputes before affair was public
Missouri governor inspired disputes before affair was public
11:05AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Elections
Ex-fighter pilot launches bid to replace Arizona Sen. Flake
Ex-fighter pilot McSally embraces President Trump and his hardline immigration rhetoric as she launches Senate campaign
2:49PM ( 22 hours ago )
McSally launches Senate campaign in heated Arizona contest
Arizona congresswoman Martha McSally has formally launched her bid for the U.S. Senate, becoming the third high-profile Republican to enter the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake
10:44AM ( 1 day ago )
Majority of Egypt's lawmakers want president to run again
More than 500 of Egypt's 596 lawmakers have signed "recommendations" for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to run for a second, four-year term in this year's elections
5:30PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Thousands protest Austria's new right-wing government
Thousands of Austrians are protesting their country's new right-wing government with a march in Vienna
11:48AM ( 1 hour ago )
Suspects in Ritz jewel heist jailed on preliminary charges
Three suspects in the bold jewelry robbery that took place on the ground floor of Paris' Ritz Hotel have been handed preliminary charges
11:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
France's playful baby panda makes 1st public appearance
France's first baby panda has made his grand public entree, acting like many five-month-olds _ climbing all over his reclining mother who appeared to want to rest
9:53AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP World News
Christ statue in Peru damaged by fire days before pope visit
A giant Christ statue in Peru's capital has been damaged by fire days before Pope Francis is set to arrive in the South American nation
12:31PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Josh Donaldson agrees to $23M, 1-year deal with Blue Jays
Third baseman Josh Donaldson and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a $23 million contract, the largest one-year deal for an arbitration-eligible player, topping Bryce Harper's $21,625,000 salary this year with Washington
12:20PM ( 37 minutes ago )
More jeers for Real Madrid after home loss to Villarreal
More jeers for Real Madrid after shocking 1-0 home loss to Villarreal in Spanish league
12:19PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Where's the VAR? Controversial goal costs Saints win in EPL
Video assistant referees were deployed for the first time in domestic English soccer this week but unfortunately for Southampton they aren't being used in the Premier League
12:19PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Actress in next Woody Allen film donates salary to Time's Up
Actress Rebecca Hall says she's donating her salary from the latest Woody Allen film to Time's Up, regrets her decision to work with him
12:16PM ( 41 minutes ago )