Prime Minister Imran Khan is speaking at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank in New York.
The premier is in a conversation with Richard N. Haass, the president of CFR. He will discuss the current state of Pakistan and relationship with US, India, Afghanistan, and current situation of occupied Kashmir
The conversation began with Prime Minister Imran stating that his experience as a cricket star had taught him the precious lesson of “how to fight” and deal with difficulties.
Questioned why Pakistan frequently has to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance, the PM said: “The moment you have a deficit, whether it is current account or financial debt, means you are not managing your economy properly.
This inability of successive governments to manage our economy is why we keep lining up with the IMF.”
He said his government had inherited “the biggest current account debt” in Pakistan’s history and “so the first year has been a real struggle.”
“I am proud to announce that we have cut down this debt almost by 70 percent. We presently have an economy which is moving in the right direction,” PM stated.
He stated when his party came into power last year, Pakistan found itself to be in probably “the worst economic situation” and it was China that came to the country’s help “when we were at the rock bottom”.
“We were staring at a default,” the prime minister Imran Khan said, adding that China along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE had provided funds to gripe up Pakistan’s foreign trade stocks.
PM said, this country now has the chance to get Chinese businesses to relocate to Pakistan and bring in technology. “China has given us a great opportunity to lift ourselves from where we are right now,” PM replied.
Responding a question about former US defense secretary James Mattis’ remark that he thought Pakistan to be “the most dangerous” among all countries he had dealt with.
Prime Minister Imran answered: “I do not think James Mattis fully understands why Pakistan became radicalized.
“In the 1980s, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan, helped by the United States, organized the resistance to the Soviets. Also, the resistance was organized by the Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) training these militants who were invited from all over the Muslim world to do jihad against the Soviet Union.
“Then comes 9/11, and Pakistan again joins the US in the war on terror and now we are required to go after these groups as terrorists. They were indoctrinated that fighting foreign occupation in jihad but now when the US arrived in Afghanistan, it was supposed to be terrorism.
“So Pakistan took a real battering in this,” he said, adding that Pakistan should have stayed neutral in the conflict.
“Pakistan by joining the US after 9/11 committed one of the biggest blunders,” he said.
Prime Minister Imran is on a seven-day visit to the United States to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly opening on September 24.