ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has categorically stated that Pakistan will ‘absolutely not’ allow any bases and use of its territory for any sort of action inside Afghanistan.

In an excerpt of the interview (full interview to be aired on Sunday) shared on Axios website on Saturday, interviewer Jonathan Swan questioned the prime minister: “Would you allow the Ameri-can government to have CIA here in Pakistan to conduct cross-border counterterrorism missions against Al Qaeda, ISIS or the Taliban?”

Mr Khan replied: “Absolutely not. There is no way we are going to allow any bases, any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not.”

Axios on HBO is a documentary-news programme that combines the reporting of Axios journalists with the expertise of HBO filmmakers to explore the collision of tech, media, business, and politics.

In interview to HBO, PM says country’s territory cannot be used for strikes inside Afghanistan

The series has featured interviews with former US president Donald Trump, Sundar Pichai, Elon Musk, Mary Barra, now US President Joe Biden, Andrew Yang and Kamala Harris, among others.

In his recent address at Senate, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, too, had ruled out the possibility of providing Pakistan’s military bases to the United States for counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan.

The foreign minister rejected as unfounded the reports to this effect and made it clear that the government would never provide military bases to the US, nor would allow drone attacks inside Pakistan.

In a cabinet briefing, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also ruled out the possibility of providing any US airbase in Pakistan saying as all such facilities were under Pakistan’s own use.

He said it was the Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf (PTI)-led government that ended drone surveillance facility given to the US in the past.

All the airbases were under the use of Pakistan and no negotiations in this regard were under way as Pakistan could not give any airbase, he said.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2021

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