Pakistan should strengthen its ties with India and other neighbours instead of becoming a US client state, former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said. Speaking on the US-Pakistan relationship at ThinkFest in Lahore on Saturday, Khar said Pakistan always imagined itself as a complete strategic partner, which was far-fetched, Dawn reported on Sunday. She said that with a begging bowl in both hands, Pakistan cannot command respect in the comity of nations.
“Pakistan’s most important relations should be with its neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, India, Iran and China instead of the US,” said Khar, the first woman foreign minister of Pakistan.
“The US does not deserve that much importance as is given in Pakistan because our economy is not dependent on US aid, as is widely believed,” said the Pakistan People’s Party leader, who held the position of foreign minister from February 2011 until March 2013.
During her tenure, al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in a covert US military raid in Pakistan’s garrison city of Abottabad in May 2011. Khar said Pakistan must not pin high hopes on the US any more.
She said Pakistan must get out of the Afghan war and refuse to become front-line state again. Pakistan had suffered the maximum damage of the 17-year long Afghan war, she added.
“Despite being front-line state and the most suffered ally, the US had put Pakistan at number 54 on the list of countries it had trade partnerships,” she lamented.
Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government’s claims of copying China, she said Beijing had brought its people out of poverty, while the Pakistani rulers were doing the opposite.