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tv   Ahsan Iqbal  Al Jazeera  November 12, 2017 11:32am-12:01pm AST

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what he believes is what he believes what i believe is that we have to get to work tens of thousands of people and girls are marked the thirteenth anniversary of the death of the former palestinian president yasser arafat organizers prevented the event as a national day of unity following the recent signing of a long green meant by rival parties fatah and hamas the syrian province of aleppo is again under heavy bombardment by government warplanes targeting rebel fighters the bombings began this week forcing thousands of civilians to flee the un has expressed concern over the continuous bombing by russian backed syrian government forces. mass graves containing at least four hundred suspected i saw victims have been found in northern iraq the sites were discovered near a military blitz base close to the town of how we are i suppose forced out of the region by iraqi forces in october bahrain has blamed an explosion at an oil pipeline and what it called terrorism linked to iran videos posted on social media
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showed the explosion in the village of poori on friday iran has denied any involvement. all right those are the latest headlines from us here at al-jazeera coming up next it's our interview program talked. al jazeera has swept every u.s. . would you want. to see. pakistan traditionally seen as an important partner with the united states but president trump recently adopted a different tone pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of
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chaos violence and terror. pakistan those sees things differently in fact they say there are no more safe havens and are now looking towards china for a new economic relationship that may change the power dynamics in a volatile region. this week on talk to al jazeera pakistan's minister of interior . discusses his country's position on the international stage and why he thinks america can learn from pakistan's experience in dealing with security issues. minister thank you so much for your time thank you for talking to answer thank you it strikes me that we are now three months into the current era in pakistan if you like since i was very resigned and mr became prime minister how would you say pakistan has recovered from that it was a shock when it happened at the pentagon papers came out of nowhere and suddenly
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now we're sure if you looked line he would actually lost his term and like so many other prime ministers was suddenly gone yeah i think it was certainly a setback for the democratic process and for the country because mr nawaz sharif enjoys big states he has experienced pakistan needs very experienced leadership to face some of the very complex security challenges that confront us domestically and in the region now i think democracy process is well entrenched as it is what people saw was within three days new prime minister was elected a new cabinet was sworn in and the country is moving forward is the country. different is all under prime minister is there is has there been a concerted effort to take the country in a different direction or two to fix any of the issues i think we are now following the same policies because it is the same party which is in power all the new
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initiatives that were started by the government of mr nawaz sharif they are now are nearing completion in the previous election we had a manifesto based on three e.'s elimination of extremism solving energy crisis of the country and reviving economy of the country so on all three fronts we have had major successes and we intend to accomplish projects which are now in nearing and the policies have not changed in foreign policy demand or in domestic area particularly we intend to pursue all the major initiatives which was started to for the completion and john updike's on economic order daughter was one of the major projects that was started in twenty thirteen and it is also moving forward very successfully to two of those days at least i would say extremism and economy we will come back to that later in our interview and it's a couple of other things i'd like to ask you about in your position obviously as
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the minister of the interior pakistan's blasphemy law this is something which and the reason i ask you is because it is controversial but whenever it flares up we on the international side we see it it's big and i think a lot of people look at it and think what is going on there this many people who get arrested people who have been beaten to death it's. it's such an emotive issue is it something which you are really putting some time into reforming we have certainly made many efforts to make sure that there is no misuse of this law but this law has its own significance because of the emotions of which is attached to religious sentiments of different religions it does not just covers muslims but it also provides protection for non muslims that nobody can be blasphemous blasphemous against their religion also these are the countries which have similar laws and we
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are making reforms and efforts to make sure that there is no misapplication or misuse of this law against anyone the problem being that it is mostly the issues to do with blasphemy against islam which get the headlines and become the big issues do you worry about how it makes pakistan look to others who might want to come there and i want to invest there i don't think that this is something with which we can define pakistan there are certain elements which are over to play this issue otherwise there really are any really any case why not toward cases which will be treated under this law pakistan is now moving forward to be a very inclusive country we have had a major success in bringing down sectarian violence and bringing down that it is a we are following a national action plan which seeks to eliminate all sorts of hate against
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different people based on their religion or on their identities but it's also about the people isn't it i mean you're talking about the application of the law and making sure that it doesn't get abused or misused but when you've got mob rule in some cases the case of the student michelle khan who was beaten to death back in april that's outside of of the law and. it is it's outside of the you know you have to understand that there can be such odd incidents anywhere in the world look at the number of shootings that close in the united states universities there are those one out toward people who take up shooting and take up rifles and kill innocent students even in united states there is no blasphemy law there so these are audience shouldn't for which there is no support in the society and we are committed to making sure that no one can use a diligent to exploit religion against any other group right so let's move on to as
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you said one of the ease which was eliminating extremism i think you see it will terrorism if you want to call it i did a quick bit of research at least twenty three incidents this year incidents being suicide bombings attacks attacks on individuals there was june of this year ninety six people died quit or. karachi. as you say these are not things which are just confined to pakistan and we see this happening in afghanistan iraq many other countries as well. what are you doing when we came into government what you were saying like twenty three or twenty six or eight incidents there were about twelve hundred incidents on basis so we're going back to when twenty thirteen twenty fourteen ok so we have come along with it has been almost more than ninety percent reduction in terrorism and extremism related incidents in the country you will recall that there was that data bill incident which took place in army public school. and government used that incident as an opportunity to bring everyone
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together to forge an alliance at national level between political leadership and also civil and military leadership and we launched an offensive against extremist elements using this opportunity of consensus first there was operation called that a bit as and now we have the second operation which is called the facade as it is a lot of these operations we have been able to eliminate all hideouts of these elements from the tribal areas they have been flushed out of pakistan and as a follow up our security agencies our police and our intelligence agencies are carrying out round the clock going operations and intelligence based operations within the cities and within different areas of pakistan so that we provide no place for these elements to turn to pakistan and there are no sympathizers of these
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elements because pakistan has been a very heavy price for the conflict in the region and let me remind you that what we are suffering today is not our doing it is the doing of the western world when they came here and formed an alliance to fight the soviet union in afghanistan pakistan did not nor for number or a fax number or dialects number of mr sama bin laden. or his associates they were all introduced to our security people by the west and he didn't seize pakistan did not invite three point five million refugees to its country today if you doesn't refugees go to europe or north america that is a un crowd imagine that we have a horse stood more than three point five million refugees for more than three decades when soviets were defeated in afghanistan united states got the trophy
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that was called and of history and that was called a major victory for capitalism but in europe but lynn wall came down and germany was united so there was also a trophy for europe but what did pakistan get in return we are still paying the price for the unification of germany we are still paying the price for defeat of communism through the guns which are run through our society through the drugs that have ruined many of our areas and with the burden of three point five million refugees so therefore what we tell united states it is not ve or them it is us we have to fix this problem together but. and i'm going to take you back to august twenty seventh teen air and i'm pretty sure you'll be expecting this i'll quote you what u.s. president ronald trump said we can no longer be silent about pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations the taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond that i think that's not a norm or safe havens in pakistan because if there were safe havens we would still
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be having attacks against our people it was these elements who were carrying out attacks as i said in twenty thirty and forty and we had twelve hundred to fourteen hundred attacks we have bid heavy price more than six thousand security personnel have laid down their lives or what seventy thousand people have become victim either they were dead or they were injured in terrorism related incidents a country that has bared so much price can never be friends with any terror groups we want to make pakistan a peaceful country and we have economic ambitions and harboring any such element is not compatible with our ambition to make pakistan and economic power in the region so then how does it feel then when your supposed ally the united states is saying things like well i think i don't i don't understand the relationship now really
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feel that unfortunately there is a blame game going on within united states because united states has spent over a trillion dollars in afghanistan and afghanistan is still nowhere close to becoming a stable country we have achieved success in our operations against these elements and northern was either stand which has identical train like of linus not at a fraction of cost i think we have offered to american friends also that we can she had our experiences and we need to collaborate right now inside of honest. there is almost forty percent of the country which is outside the control of the official government or the afghan national army now if forty percent of the country is under the control of taliban or their sympathizers why would they need safe
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havens inside pakistan you talk about cooperation. last month there was the release of some american hostages in afghanistan and again i'm going to quote you what donald trump said then i want to thank pakistan they worked very hard on this so he was there was praise there but then he also said i believe they're starting to respect the united states again to pakistan not respect the united states i think of we all need to respect each other pakistan is also a country that was created by our people because they want to dignity and they believe that living in united india they were being denied dignity pakistan as a nation if it is given dignity it can be made to even drink a cup of poison but if there is an impression of caution our people will even refused to drink a cup of honey so our people also are very dignified people and similarly we believe in dignity of other nations i think the challenges we face today on
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security dimension terrorism related challenges this has now become like you have mcdonnell it mapped out of network there are now global franchises which are cooperating with each other now the only way to defeat terrorism is collaboration of countries not confrontation of countries if we indulge in confrontation we help them in winning the war against peace efforts and if we are able to collaborate to be defeated extremists and let me also sure and say that this incident involving miscalls men and her spouse and family shores that how much can be accomplished if we work in collaborative manner there was an intelligence which was shared with us in time and i would security agencies swiftly acted upon that intelligence and we were able to save lives of called men
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misc. goldman and her family the reason i read those quotes to you is because that is what is projected to the rest of the world i guess without you giving away state secrets i'm wondering behind the scenes are you confident enough that there is enough respect if any how abberation tonight that if we look at history of u.s. and pakistan we will find that pakistan is located at such an important geo strategic place that it is not an option for either it off the two countries to walk away from each other in i would seventy years did have been very close cooperation and also our periods where we have tried to file for divorce but diverse did not work out to be an option on any of those occasions so i think the compulsion of the geo strategy enjoy economics is we might as we'll find it basis to live happily for the rest of the time i'm sure that there is more honest and
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frank dialogue taking place between pakistan and united states and this will provide us a more permanent basis of having a more stable relationship in future ok so let's move on to other relationships because you mentioned china this is enormous for you the c.p.a. see the china pakistan economic card or. twenty thirteen you said that started is there a completion date a thought or is this going to be one of these long evolving growing sorts of relationship we have to understand that back sun and china have enjoyed a very very close relationship based on trust china can trust pakistan and pakistan can trust china and that is what forms a foundation of the solution ship in the past we had very close political relationship but we did not focus on developing a strong economic partnership now that pakistan has a vision twenty twenty five which seeks to leverage pakistan's look asian because
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it is at the intersection of south asia china and central issue which are three engines of growth in asia and let me also say that by twenty fifty it is estimated that issue an economy will form fifty two percent of world g.d.p. is the future of global economy and within asia we have proximity of three engines of growth so we want to leverage our location to create not south and east west quad adores to integrate these three engines into one big market of three billion people that is where china has started new initiative under its own one belt one drawer debt also seeking to reach out and i think it's a very progressive vision because what it is seeking that while the world economy has slowed down in order to their wives economy we need good ought in order to have good ought we need new markets in order to have new markets we need new
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connectivity so china is helping build that connectivity and also helping us get investment in energy sector than an infrastructure sector which have suffered greatly due to the past conflict in our region pakistan will be able to remove these bottlenecks in its economy for the more brought china will be able to also develop its supply. got it all which will help it to reach asian markets and african markets and european markets through a much shorter route as compared to going through shanghai port and through all the way a strait of malacca so this is of invent platform for both countries and it will go in three phases the first phase is up to twenty twenty in which we barely basic infrastructure twenty twenty two twenty twenty five we will focus on industrialisation now there are five million jobs being relocated from china
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because their cost of wages have increased so that we hope that we will be able to get a sizeable number of relocation to our industrial zones that we are developing and then beyond twenty five to twenty thirty we will also be able to develop energy and rail links from pakistan to china that will give more. stronger foundation to the spartan ship but all of this at what cost because china we know how much money china has we know how much they invest you mentioned africa we've seen so much time is investment in africa as well and the criticism is that china comes in and almost takes over are you potentially giving up too much for the benefit of as you said jobs in infrastructure we are not giving anything because all these projects are based on a vendor approach get much needed foreign investment that pakistan very desperately needs really get much needed in that we desperately need to divide our economy
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really get much needed modern infrastructure that we need to have a competitive economy for the official movement of goods through board and real networks and china gets access so this is based on a vent and let me also say that if you look at history in the last three thousand four thousand is i have no. come across a single instance of chinese imperialism in history every year their power which has the xoom certain role and power in history has always developed into imperialism has always gone into an expansionist more but in thousands of years we don't find that china has ever made colonies so it is not part of their d.n.a. now but there's a lot of people who fear or at least recognize. the power that china has time magazine just did its first ever bilingual cover and it was in mandarin and english
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there are people who say that cheating paying for isn't teaching being maybe actually the most powerful the whole and there was a time when statue of liberty was the ideal of the world when economic power center was united states economy so this is the these this is the limits of soft power any country that will have any economic power will be able to project its culture globally just as meg nanos became an identity of certain lifestyle all over the world where that was not to say that american culture was overtaking the world or capturing the world so similarly if mandarin is coming there are certain chinese elements which are now becoming more global marks of life style it does not necessity lead mean that china is becoming had humanistic or that is takeover of china today chinese cuisine is a household cuisine in every part of the world it does not mean that china is
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overtaken she said i think what people worry more about is there is and you talk about soft power is that that will translate in turn into a much bigger and stronger power. and well it's pakistan ok with that and it's pakistan i mean or are you trying to position yourself to be right alongside china for a little pakistan seeks to be partners with all. all powers we don't want singularly . stablish relationship with any country in the history we had best of the best relations with the united states and with china when china and united states were not even on speaking terms as a matter of fact pakistan became the bridge to bring united states and china together so we know how to manage our relationships and we equally have good relations with the european union we have recently joined a shanghai cooperation organization and we're also building a strong relationship with russia we have as i said in the history had
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a strong relationship with united states we have good relationship with g.c.c. countries in our region so we want to have a very inclusive foreign policy because the future of a global economy wants that all countries must learn to collaborate and become more connected we are in a network economy where connectivity of countries and regions i think will bring more opportunities i'm glad you mentioned the g.c.c. because i couldn't not ask you about it seeing as you are here in doha you have as you said good relationships across the gulf cooperation council. even if i just single outside iran and qatar who are of course on different sides of a divide at the moment where does pakistan sit there or are you trying to again just hands off each might take on this would be that pakistan has experienced long conflict and we know conflict only brings disasters to every party it is only peace that has dividends we would like to see. become
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a stable and peaceful region because if there is conflict there are no winners in conflict everyone loses so pakistan would like to play any constructive role to help the cause of peace and stability in the region did out of already many challenges and made. at least look at the landscape what is happening in iraq what is happening in syria what is probably happening in lebanon to some extent so this whole region is very explosive what is happening in yemen so we has one point you made with all of those places so many of them at the moment and you mentioned eleven of them as being or are being asked or in some cases forced to choose sides because there is this very clear divide in the middle east is pakistan on one side or the other would you be in a position would you you know if you were told by one country to stand would like to again bring everyone together for
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a common good we have played active role in the past also our leadership has visited all the countries recently our army chief has gone to iran also to for the promote understanding in the region i think all conflicts must be solved through dialogue as i said experience is that conflict is a big disaster and we would not like to see conflict in any part of the world. pakistan's interior minister and the minister of defense and.
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