PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan have blamed the rise of terrorism in Pakistan on the “negligence” of Pakistani security forces and intelligence agencies.
Imran spoke about the recent criticism of the PTI government’s decision to negotiate with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) before he was ousted in an interview with Voice of America English aired Saturday, February 11.
He was responding to a question from the host, who asked if he “stands” with his decision to approve the talks.
“One of the reasons why terrorism has increased in Pakistan is that according to the National Counter Terrorism Authority, the time that was taken for negotiations with the TTP was used by this group to reorganize. These talks started when you were in power. “Do you stand by your decision to approve these talks?” asked correspondent Sarah Zaman.
“Well, number one, what were the choices that [the] Pakistani government faced once the Taliban took over and they decided on the TTP, and we’re talking about 30, [30,000] to 40 000 people, you know, families included, once they decided to send them back to Pakistan?” Did I have to line them up and take them down, or should we have worked with them to reinstall them?” Imran replied.
He went on to say that his government had a meeting at the time and the plan was to resettle people with the “consent of politicians all along the border”, the former FATA region, security forces and the TTP.
“But that never happened because our government left, and once our government left, the new government lost its way,” he explained.
The former Prime Minister affirmed that it was possible that the TTP regroups then wondered: “But then where were the Pakistani security forces? Where had the intelligence agencies gone? Didn’t they see them reorganizing?
“How can we be held responsible for their negligence? asked the head of the PTI.
The public order situation in the country has deteriorated in recent months, with terrorist groups carrying out attacks with impunity across the country.
Since talks with the TTP broke down in November, the militant group has stepped up its attacks, focusing on police in the KP and areas bordering Afghanistan. The Balochistan insurgents also escalated their violent activities and formed a formal alliance with the outlawed TTP.
Statistics from the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) show that January 2023 was one of the deadliest months since July 2018 with 134 dead (a 139% increase) and 254 injured in at least 44 militant attacks across the country.
More recently, a suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar police lines claimed the lives of more than 80 people, the majority of whom were police officers.
The attack sparked a debate on the causes of the increase in terrorism in the country. The current administration has blamed the PTI, saying parliament ‘never approved’ the previous administration’s decision to engage in dialogue with activists and that it was ‘flawed’.
“We need Kabul to work with us.”
While discussing Pakistan’s foreign policy and its relationship with the Afghan Taliban, the PTI chief stressed the importance of making Kabul “rework with us” and jointly deal with the issue of terrorism.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but do we want a repeat of what happened in Pakistan from 2005 to 2015, where Pakistan suffered, suffered from terrorism all along the Afghan border?” we are ready for another war on terror,” he said.
The ex-prime minister went on to say that whatever government is in place in Afghanistan, Pakistan must have good relations with them.
He remembers doing his best with the administration of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
“Our interest is that having good relations with the government in Kabul means we have a 2,500-kilometer border with them. It means that if there are problems with terrorism, they will help us.”
Imran also chastised outgoing Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, saying he had yet to visit Afghanistan.
“Bajwa had a close relationship with Shehbaz Sharif,” a source said.
Parlant de sa relation avec l’ancien chef de l’armée, le général à la retraite Qamar Javed Bajwa, l’ex-Premier ministre a déclaré que son gouvernement et l’armée étaient sur la « même page », ce qui signifie que « nous avions la force organisée de l’armée pakistanaise pour nous aider ».
“Nous avons collaboré, et vous savez, le Pakistan a été l’une des réussites de Covid-19.”
Imran, d’autre part, a affirmé que le général Bajwa “favorisait certains des plus grands escrocs du pays” et ne considérait pas la corruption comme un problème majeur.
“Il voulait que nous collaborions avec eux. “Cela signifiait leur donner l’immunité contre leurs affaires de corruption”, a-t-il affirmé, ajoutant que le général Bajwa est “très proche” du Premier ministre Shehbaz Sharif.
“And, for some reason, he conspired, and this regime change happened.”
Imran went on to say that the key principle of checks and balances is that the elected government must also have authority. “It is impossible to separate responsibility and authority. So if the army chief has authority but the prime minister has responsibility, no management system works,” he said.
In response to another question, Imran said the new military leadership was aware that the “regime change experiment” had failed.