Successive governments in Pakistan did not have the political will to take admit about the number of terrorists being trained to fight in the neighbourhood, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday. He was speaking at the United States Institute of Peace.
"Until we came into power, the government did not have the political will, because when you talk about militant groups we still have about 30,000-40,000 armed people who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghnaistan or Kashmir," he said.
While addressing a Capitol Hill reception hosted by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chairperson of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus. Part of the reason for this, Khan explained to the lawmakers, was that the Pakistani governments were not in control. Lee is also a member of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.
"There were 40 different militant groups operating within Pakistan. So Pakistan went through a period where people like us were worried about could we survive it. So while the US expected us to do more and help the US win the war, Pakistan at that time was fighting for its own existence," he said. Khan said it was very important that he met President Donald Trump and other top American leaders.
"We have explained to them that the way forward is: number one, the relationship has to be based on mutual trust," he said, adding that he would be honest in telling the US what Pakistan could do in the peace process.
Pakistan, Khan said, was trying its best to get the Taliban on the table to start this dialogue. "So far, we have done pretty well," he said and cautioned the US that the process was not going to be easy.
"Do not expect this to be easy, because it is a very complicated situation in Afghanistan. But rest assured, we would be trying our best. The whole country is standing behind me. The Pakistan Army, the security forces, all are behind me. We all have one objective and it is exactly the same objective as the US, which is to have a peaceful solution as quickly as possible in Afghanistan," Khan said.