Pakistan's Prime Minister Contender Would End Drone Strikes, Reject U.S. Aid


3. So just to be perfectly clear, Pakistan has been a key U.S. ally in the war on terror for more than a decade. Are you saying it will no longer be an ally?

It will only be an ally in peace, it's not going to be an ally in war. Fifty thousand Pakistanis have died. This country has been radicalized. We are more insecure than ever before. There's something like $80 billion this country has lost in this war. The US aid is about twenty billion. The country is sinking into poverty, into chaos, the state is getting weaker. There is a consensus in Pakistan that there is no military solution. So therefore we'll look for a political solution. We want to be an ally in peace with the U.S., but no longer can this war continue. There is a consensus among all the political parties in Pakistan that there is no military solution, only a political solution, which is actually the conclusion that the U.S. has reached in Afghanistan too.

4. America for a long time has said drone strikes are vital towards targeting militants. You say you're going to stop them. Why?

If they were so accurate and vital, we should be winning the war. But the U.S. isn't winning in Afghanistan, we certainly aren't winning in Pakistan. So what have these drone strikes achieved? We would swallow the bitter pill that someone can be judge jury and executioner, violate our sovereignty, bomb an ally – we're an ally and it's never happened before that an ally bombs an ally – if this was effective we might have swallowed this bitter pill. It's totally counterproductive. It's caused more militancy. All it does is causes collateral damage, causes anti U.S. (sentiment), and guess who gains? The militants.

5. Some might interpret this as you being soft on the Taliban. What do you say to that?

If I'm soft on the Taliban, then all of the political parties that are pro war are soft on the Taliban as well. If being anti war means being soft on the Taliban, then people don't understand the dynamics of this war. And that's why we're stuck. The U.S. is stuck in Afghanistan. We're stuck in our tribal areas. People are ignorant of the history of this area. Never have they ever accepted a foreigner to come and occupy them, either in our tribal areas or in Afghanistan. And so this is going against history. Therefore it's time to give peace a chance. For both Pakistan and the U.S. We've had enough of fighting. We want peace. And if peace means that you're anti U.S., then people do not understand. Unfortunately some people in the U.S. feel that unless you do whatever the U.S. tells you to do, you're anti U.S. I believe that it's time for the U.S. to make Pakistan a friend rather than a client state, a hired gun which is paid money to do it's bidding. I think that time is over. Pakistan is past that stage, the country can no longer take this war anymore. And for the U.S. also, they should hope this election brings a partner in peace, and the US needs a peace partner to exit from Afghanistan.

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