Former Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi Takes Imran Khan To Task Over ‘US Slavery’ Remarks

Former Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi Takes Imran Khan To Task Over ‘US Slavery’ Remarks
Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US Dr. Maleeha Lodhi has reacted strongly to the statement made by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on US-Pakistan ties, saying Islamabad was never a slave to Washington.

Anchorperson Kamran Khan on his TV programme asked about former premier's comment that Pakistan-US relations had been those of a slave and a master.

In his remarks, Dr. Lodhi advised Imran to be knowledgeable about the country’s history before “making such comments”.

She asserted that Islamabad wouldn’t be a nuclear power if it had ties with the US as suggested by PTI chairman.

“Tell me the one thing that the US didn’t do to stop Pakistan from becoming a nuclear power,” Dr. Lodhi asked.

She added that she was an ambassador at the time. “We were constantly being told to seize our nuclear program and freeze it and abstain from developing any missiles.”

Dr. Lodhi maintained, “Despite being told to do all of this, Islamabad maintained its stance that it would not compromise on its national policy, and that it would make its own decisions related to national security.

The former envoy termed constancy and consistency as the basis of any country’s foreign policy, saying the country’s civil and military leadership unanimously supported an agreed-upon policy, and secured its core strategic interests.

She also referred to the Cold War era when Washington attempted to bar Pakistan from establishing ties with Beijing.

“The US warned Pakistan that doing so will harm its ties with the country, but we prioritized our interests anyway,” Dr. Lodhi remarked.

The diplomat also highlighted that the US fought a long war in Afghanistan that it didn’t win. It accused Islamabad of playing a double game in Afghanistan because the country didn’t sever its ties with Afghan Taliban. Pakistan, she added, knew that America will leave the region one day, but it cannot.

Dr. Lodhi further said that ties between the two countries have always been unsmooth, but that was because Pakistan wanted to pursue its own policy and not the one desirable by the US.

“Pakistan has strategic relations with the US, China, and Saudi Arabia. Our ties with Beijing are crucial and so are those with Saudi Arabia and America. Instead of leveling allegations, we should work on maintaining these ties,” she stressed.

The former envoy termed Imran’s retreat from his ‘conspiracy’ narrative as a good omen. She emphasized consistency in policy for politicians as well as foreign affairs, terming U-turns detrimental for one’s reputation.

She hoped that PTI chairman would maintain consistency in his policies on the internal issues too.