Pakistan's Imran Khan Would Talk With Trump, But 'Dread It'

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Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said the return of the refugees is prerequisite in a bid to help the Pakistani forces deny safe havens to the Afghan militants.

Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party rules Pakistan's Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KPK) province, which borders Afghanistan, as part of a coalition government that includes the religious Jamaat-e-Islami party.

Responding to the Trump's accusations against Islamabad, including "lies and deceit" and harbouring militants battling American troops in the war-torn country, Imran said: "You can not insult a country of 200 million people by blaming, scapegoating them for the disaster in Afghanistan".

"Whether we would be able to communicate, I am not so sure, but of course we, countries, have to work with the United States", he said.

It merits mentioning here that ties between Pakistan and the U.S. worsened after Trump on January 1, in his first tweet of 2018, said that Washington has got nothing but "lies and deceit" from Pakistan despite providing it more than $33 billion in aid since 2002.

Islamabad denied Trump's assertions as "completely incomprehensible", saying it was fighting an anti-terrorism war largely with its own resources and was not in need of USA aid. He has treated Pakistan like a doormat. "I just don't think that that was very fair".

Trump accused Pakistan of doing nothing to assist in the USA -led war effort in neighboring Afghanistan and of failing to crack down on militants that attack US and Afghan forces across the border. The politician reiterated Saturday the war was launched to punish the al-Qaida network for plotting 9/11 attacks on the US from Afghan soil.

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Khan said he supports cooperation with the United States but opposes getting Pakistan's military into a ground war with its own citizense in the tribal regions along the Afghan border. Khan referred to Sharif's family, which dominates the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML), as "a political mafia" that he vowed to defeat at the polls.

Should he become the prime minister, PTI chief said "yes we would talk", referring to Trump, but added that the USA dishonours the memory of thousands of Pakistani soldiers who died battling militants, as well as that of tens of thousands of Pakistanis who died in terrorist attacks.

US officials say Pakistan has provided a safe haven for insurgents operating across the border in Afghanistan, often attacking government, civilian, and religious sites, along with USA coaltion forces.

Pakistan's volatile tribal areas have long served as a hideout and training ground for Taliban insurgents battling global forces in Afghanistan.

A senior Trump administration official has said the USA is developing risk mitigation plan, given the past experience that Pakistan blocks ground lines of communication as retaliatory measure.

Pakistan later responded to Trump's allegations by convening a National Security Committee meeting, attended by Bajwa and Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

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