Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken a complete U-turn on the United States after years of describing others who sought good relations with the US as traitors. After bashing the US for decades, attacking every civilian government of Pakistan that sought better relations with the US, now Khan says that Pakistan needs good relations with the US.
In January 2009, Imran Khan had written an open letter to President Barack Obama asserting that the United States was an occupying power in Afghanistan.
In 2011 in an interview Khan accused the then PPP-led government of allowing Americans to kill Pakistanis “”Who is benefiting from this war [against terror]? The tiny elite. This sit-in [a protest meeting organized by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party] was directed at the government. It was telling them: ‘Tell us the truth.’ What is the real truth? Have you given them [i.e. Americans] the permission to kill our own people? “Secondly, it was directed towards the Americans – that the violation [e.g. killing of Osama bin Laden] of some country’s sovereignty is against the United Nations charter. They are violating their own humanitarian laws. In the United States, all humanitarian laws are against anyone becoming judge, jury, and executioner.”
Khan also asserted that most Pakistanis view the US as an enemy “”I have been warning against this for a while, because according to all the polls taken in Pakistan, all the surveys, over 80% of the Pakistanis think that the U.S. is an enemy. Why do they think of them as an enemy? Because they think that the U.S. is not fighting a war against terror. It’s a war against Islam.”
Khan also accused the PPP-led civilian government of taking money from Americans and being an American “stooge.” “What they are doing is taking a shortcut, taking money from the U.S., pretending to be this people who are fighting Islamic radicalism – the word used is ‘bulwark’ against terrorism and Islamic extremism… They basically want the situation to continue just so the aid keeps coming, benefiting them, while the country sinks. They make a lot of money.”
Khan also said Pakistan does not need US aid or US interference “”We Will Fight This War Our Own Way; We Don’t Want Interference; We Don’t Want Your Money; We Don’t Want Your Aid” and that “I am a Pakistani citizen. My country has given 34,000 people dead in a war we had nothing to do with; $70 billion lost to the economy when the total [U.S.] aid has been $20 billion.”
In 2012 while on a fundraising trip across the United States Khan justified jihad in Afghanistan “According to a video of his statement made at the press conference in Peshawar, Imran Khan said: “Jihad is a very simple thing. When I wage a war for my freedom, it is jihad. It’s averse of the Koran; it’s straight clear. [When] one fights for his freedom, it’s jihad. Those who are fighting in Afghanistan against foreign occupation, it’s jihad.”
In an interview to The Guardian in 2011, Khan claimed “A country that relies on aid? Death is better than that. It stops you from achieving your potential, just as colonialism did. Aid is humiliating. Every country I know that has had IMF or World Bank programs has only impoverished the poor and enriched the rich.” And American aid, he argues, has had a calamitous effect on his homeland.”
Yet under his 10-month long rule in power, Pakistan has borrowed $ 9 billion from UAE-Saudi-Qatar and gone to IMF for a $6 billion bailout.
And now in 2019, Mr Khan is in the US asking for a good relationship, asking for economic assistance, resumption of security assistance and stating that there was a need for better ties between the United States and Pakistan.