Pakistan won’t give in to one-sided US demands: PM Imran

ISLAMABAD: Days before a scheduled visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that his government would not give in to any one-sided demand from the administration of President Donald Trump.
Speaking to a select group of senior journalists at the Prime Minister House, Imran reiterated his administration’s policy of promoting bilateral relationship with the United States based on mutual respect. “We will hold talks with the US administration with dignity and respect,” he said.
Premier Imran’s media interaction came a day after he and his top aides received a comprehensive briefing on national security from the military brass at the General Headquarters (GHQ).
The United States routinely calls on Pakistan to do more in the fight against terrorism even though Islamabad has suffered gigantic losses, both in men and material, in its effort to purge the region of the menace of terrorism.
The latest development came days after a congratulatory phone call made by Pompeo to Premier Imran started a diplomatic tiff with the two countries offering conflicting accounts of what the pair discussed.
However on Thursday, Islamabad stepped back from the row with the US State Department with Foreign Office spokesperson saying: “We would want the episode to end… politically, we need to move on.”
Last week, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that US Secretary of State Pompeo was expected to visit Pakistan on September 5 and that national interest would guide Pakistan’s future relations with Washington.
On ties with India, Premier Imran said his government wanted to develop good relations with the neighbouring country and inviting cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu to his inauguration was a part of the efforts to normalise bilateral ties.
Seeking the media’s help in ongoing accountability process in the country, he said that those facing the charges would cry foul but the media should not become part of any propaganda. He also requested the journalists to give his newly-formed government a three-month time to settle in before criticising its performance.
Commenting on a controversy involving his use of helicopter to commute between his Bani Gala residence and the Prime Minister House, Imran claimed that the air travel not only saved time and money but also spared commuters and motorists hassle on the roads.
“We will take steps to further cut the government’s expenses. As part of our ongoing austerity drive, we will also auction the luxury vehicles used the former governments,” he added.
“We are not facing any undue pressure from any institution. We’re working along with the security institutions in accordance with the Constitution,” he said in reply to a question.
The prime minister welcomed as ‘good omen’ the chief justice’s decision to take suo motu notice of the transfer of Rizwan Gondal, the district police officer (DPO) of Pakpattan. Imran said he had only directed the chief secretary to look into the matter and that he was unaware of the details of the incident.
DPO Gondal was ‘transferred’ on August 28 after he stopped First Lady Busra Imran’s former spouse Khawar Maneka’s car on August 23 and refused to apologise to him when ‘directed’ to do so. Gondal claimed that senior police official Ahsan Jamil Gujjar had ‘ordered’ him to apologise in person to Maneka.
Premier Imran reportedly refused to take a telephone call from the French president twice during Friday’s interaction with senior journalists.