Interview of Defence Minister Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan on Belgium’s National TV

Islamabad, January 26, 2018 (PPI-OT):The national radio and TV channel of Belgium (VRT: Flemish Radio and TV) has broadcast an interview of Pakistan’s Defence Minister Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan conducted by senior journalist of VRT Mr. Steven Victor Decraene during the visit of Minister to Belgium from 22nd to 25th of January at the head of 4 member Parliamentary delegation. The interview was carried as one of the three main stories in the 8’o clock news program Terzake. The VRT also aired the interview on radio and published a written article on its website.

Following are the excerpts of the interview, says a press release received from Brussels here today. In the context of situation in Afghanistan Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan said “A lot of blame game has come to Pakistan. It is one of the reasons why we have now begun to fence the border. And it is very interesting: now that we say Ok you blame us that we send people across or that some people are crossing over, we will fence the whole 2600 kilometres. But once we have begun to fence, we have done almost well 250 kilometres already, no-one is helping us.” He said “The Americans are choosing to blame Pakistan for their sixteen year old failure in Afghanistan.

They have spent a trillion dollars; they have sacrificed thousands of soldiers, many more injuries. And even now, nearly 45% of Afghanistan is outside the government’s control.” The minister warned, as long as the situation is unstable in Afghanistan, there will remain unrest in Pakistan. In reply to a question on Pak- Us relations the minister said “We expect the Europeans to convey our point of view to the Americans who are at the moment not very receptive to Pakistan’s point of view; it is to say that again let’s keep the eyes on the prize, as the Americans say. And the prize is a stable democratic Afghanistan.”

On the internal security situation of Pakistan the Minister said “Well the internal security situation is massively improved. There is no other word for it. I think we have performed a near miracle. So, the whole of Pakistan is now peaceful. We still get some terrorist incidents. But largely, the incidents of terror are down by 80% from their peak in 2012”. He added “The murdering of 142 children in Army Public School in 2017 cleared the mind of the people of Pakistan. These were not religious people, these were not anti-American crusaders, these were not nationalist people. They were just evil people who wanted to hurt Pakistan”.

Talking about improvement in Pakistan’s economic situation Khurram Dastagir Khan was of the view: “Pakistan is the fastest growing consumer market in the world at the moment. There is a lot of interest from international retailers, food outlets, and companies who want to tap Pakistan’s consumer market. As I said, the infrastructure is coming in, and Pakistan is finally, we believe, at the threshold of utilising its potential because of its very strategic geographical location. It is something that has given us more trouble in our history. But now finally because of the China-Pakistan economic corridor and the investment that is coming in, that we are about to exploit its potential.”

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