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What did Prime Minister Imran Khan say on Iran in US?

Ghulam Hussain / Shiite News Special

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comments regarding Iran during his visit to Washington DC gave birth to controversy in Pakistan. Pro-government Pakistanis see no objectionable point but critics view Khan’s viewpoint differently.However, factually speaking, PM replied carefully to the questions raised to him during his US visit from July 21 to 23, 2019.

What did he say?

During an exclusive interview with Fox News, he expressed Pakistan’s readiness to play role in defusing tension. But, if asked so.

Most importantly, Imran said US attack on Iran would unleash “terrorism” that angered many Pakistanis.

Most importantly, Khan made clear tension in the region in no one’s interest. And he also called for resolving all issues through peaceful means.

When asked about Iran wanting a nuclear weapon, he replied: “I can’t say.” “[…] but as a neighbour of Iran, we certainly hope that this does not become a full-blown conflict.”

“We would love to help if we are asked because we are a neighbor of Iran […].” “the last thing we want is a conflict in Iran, which will obviously affect us.”

“Not just us, but it will affect oil prices, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia.” “We would do anything for a peaceful resolution.”

However, pro-government Pakistanis say that PM Khan cited cohesiveness and inclination to martyrdoms among Shia Muslims.

Imran Khan at USIP

In Washington, Imran Khan also spoke at the United States Institute of Peace where the moderator sought his answer on Iran.

There, he replied: “We don’t want any conflict on our border.” “We would do anything. And we are willing to play any role for peace and stability in the region.”

“We have already suggested this to Iran and it was willing, but I don’t think they should be pushed into a situation which leads to a conflict.”

Furthermore, Imran said he was not sure whether all the countries realize the gravity of the situation if there is a conflict with Iran. He asserted that people don’t understand that this is not going to be same as Iraq.

Prime Minister warned this could be much much worse. He said it would have great and adviser consequences for Pakistan.

Moreover, he warned that consequences of the conflict could be much higher and my worry is many people do not fully understand that.

“I would strongly urge that there should be no military situation. Pakistan has already suffered a lot,” Imran Khan emphasised.

What irked Pakistanis?

However, his answer at the USIP sparked off a controversy in Pakistan where people interpreted his words differently.

Imran compared possible reaction and response from Iran and his supporters with Al-Qaida and said it would unleash terrorism. And this comparison angered many Pakistanis because many Pakistanis object to the comparison.

Incumbent government backs regional camp of US-allied Saudi-led GCC on many issues but it doesn’t support war on Iran.

Most importantly, they cited that Imran said US attack on Iran would unleash “terrorism.”

And that  angered many because they think retaliation to US military aggression cannot be called terrorism.

However, pro-Imran and pro-PTI Pakistanis say that PM Khan cited the cohesiveness and inclination to martyrdoms among Shia Muslims.

Significantly, they think he warned US to refrain from military attack on Iran keeping in view that retaliation.

PTI govt tilts to Saudi-UAE

Incumbent government backs regional camp of US-allied Saudi-led GCC on many issues but it doesn’t support war on Iran.

Also at the USIP, Imran Khan thanked Saudi Arabia and UAE first and then commented on Iran. However, by and large, Pakistan doesn’t emulate GCC and US policy on Iran.

Imran Khan Iran US


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