the un secretary—general has described the crisis there as the world's fastest—developing refugee emergency and a human rights nightmare. 500,000 rohingya muslims have fled across the border to bangladesh. the uk's aviation regulator has told ryanair it has less than 2a hours to sort out compensation for hundreds of thousands of passengers hit by flight cancellations. the airline has been told it must make clear to customers they are entitled to be re—routed using another carrier. police are hunting an extortionist who threatened to plant poisoned food in german supermarkets and elsewhere in europe unless retailers pay millions of dollars. officers in the city of konstanz have recovered a small amount of baby food contaminated with a liquid used in antifreeze. now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i'm sarah montague. president trump has accused pakistan
of housing the very terrorists that the united states is fighting, but he says that will have to change, and change immediately. he questioned why the united states is giving pakistan billions in aid and military support. it is an argument that has been made before. but now, other countries are also pointing to what they see as pakistan's seeming double—speak on terrorism. even china has signed a declaration including pakistan—based groups on a terror list. my guest today is pakistan's foreign minister, khawaja asif. are they at risk of losing all their allies because of their inability or unwillingness to control militants? khawaja asif, in new york, welcome to hardtalk.
thank you. how do you respond to that challenge from president trump that pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror? well, we have given a statement in response of what president trump said three weeks back. and let me explain that again. 0ur talibans have almost 40% to 45% territory of afghanistan with them. kabul has no control on that territory. why would they need safe havens
in pakistan when they have their own territory, where they can move freely, without any hindrance, without any problem 7 so this is basically — you know, this is scapegoating pakistan for whatever has happened in afghanistan over the last 1.5 decades. at the peak, there were more than 100,000 american soldiers who were there, of the combined isaf forces. they have not achieved anything. they have lost territory. they have not really achieved what they wanted to achieve in afghanistan. now, scapegoating pakistan is easy. but the fact remains that they are fighting a battle which is not about to finish in the near future. they are talking of a surge by 4,000, or 5,000, or 6,000, whatever.
that will not make any difference. we propose that there should be a political approach and a political solution to this problem, not merely a military solution. the military solution has already failed. the military approach over the last... so, when president trump talks about, first of all, the amount, the billions and billions of dollars that the united states is paying pakistan... that is absolutely wrong... and he also says no partnership can survive a country's harbouring militants and terrorists who target us service members and officials. he isjust wrong, is he? yeah, he is absolutely wrong, absolutely wrong. i told you, they are scapegoating pakistan for their failures, number one. number two, talking of this billions, let's sit down with the americans and sort this out. you know, for almost 1.5 decades, our roads, our infrastructure, our airspace have been used by american forces,
free of cost. we have suffered over $100 billion of losses, economic losses. 60,000 casualties... because the figures on the money that the united states has given pakistan is that, over 15 years, the total is $us33 billion. they actually reimbursed the expense, which is audited, and most of the time, it is not paid in full. so that is something which is debatable. i think president trump was not shown the whole situation, or the correct situation. but in terms of where terrorists are operating, are you suggesting that pakistan is blameless as far as afghanistan is concerned? let me explain. we are absolutely sure about it — that whatever is happening in pakistan, that is being orchestrated from foreign soil. they are safe havens of ttp, which is tehreek—i—taliban pakistan. they operate from there.
what happened in the peshawar, in the army public school, it was also orchestrated, it was supervised from foreign soil. so we have the same problem, that actually we provide them the co—ordinates of the people who are operating from there, the location and everything, and nothing has been done. so — forgive me, do you say to the united states, "look, we have a terrorist problem because of you and your loss of control in afghanistan?" absolutely, absolutely. they have lost control. they have — they are fighting a losing war. that is why pakistan is having problems. now, we have committed 200,000 soldiers around our western border. we have a traditional enemy on our eastern border, where we have something like 100,000. 0k, well, we'll. ..
so look at the threat we have on our western border and the quantum of the threat is so big that 200,000 soldiers are fighting the terrorists on our western border. one of the difficulties you have is that people like — there is a belief that perhaps you don't want peace, that it is not in your interests. having supported the taliban in afghanistan, it is not now in your interest for there to be peace because they help keep, in the words of michael kugelman, who is deputy director of the wilson center's asia programme, he says the taliban help keep pakistan's indian enemy at bay in pakistan. —— afghanistan. that is absolutely wrong. that is, i think, a lack of real knowledge of the situation in pakistan. we have lost — we used to have some influence on our taliban, and that is why we were suggesting that they should be brought to the table and there should be
negotiation on whatever is happening in afghanistan. but over the years, we have lost control or influence on the taliban. other countries in the region who have perhaps more influence on taliban than us — actually, all talibans have contact with almost everybody in the region. so we do not have — we do not monopolise this relationship. a former envoy to afghanistan, james dobbins, has said today they view it as a monster they've created but can't afford to suppress. create — let's talk about creating monsters. most of these monsters, which are there in our country, in this whole region, were created way back in the ‘80s by a proxy war which we were fighting on behalf of americans. this is the legacy of those days.
this is the baggage which pakistan and the whole region is carrying from the war which was fought against soviet union. so let's not talk about... ok, but the difficulty pakistan has here, though, is that it is notjust the united states. we also have a situation where the brics countries — brazil, russia, india, china and south africa — have all signed a declaration which names pakistan—based organisations like lashkar—e—taiba and jaish—e—mohammad, and says that they — condemns terror attacks, and says those committing, organising, or supporting such acts must be held accountable. your information is not complete. if not — i'll not use the word "wrong," but your information is not complete. this statement which came out of brics was signed by pakistan
in the last year out of amritsar, the heart of asia conference which took place in amritsar. we signed this statement ourselves, the same statement. so then why did your defence minister, khurram dastgir khan, say "we reject the declaration?" you're saying you signed it, but your own defence minister says we reject the declaration at the brics summit? these organisations you have just mentioned, they are proscribed in afghanistan. jaish—e—mohammad and lashkar—e—taiba, they are banned in pakistan. their leadership is in custody. they are under house arrest, or they are detained by the pakistan government. you are not taking enough action against them. and it is something that, in the wake of that signing of the brics statement, you acknowledged. you said, "instead we should impose some restrictions on the activities of the elements like lashkar—e—taiba and jaish—e—mohammad." you know, they are already proscribed in pakistan. we are tightening the noose around
them, there's absolutely no doubt about it. it is debatable that perhaps more actions can be taken against them. the more — but, if somebody is doubting our intent, i think it's absolutely wrong. you say "if people doubt our intent" — there seems to be an awful lot of people who doubt your intent. is it true, as has been reported in the times, that a senior pakistani government official has said that china has demanded privately that pakistan should attack islamist militants? have china been pressing you privately to do more? no. we have, in the last three to four years, operated against the terrorists from different backgrounds in our tribal areas. there were terrorists over there, they are called etim, the organisation is called etim. we operated against them.
they were operating in western china. this is the east turkestan independence movement, that were also named in this brics, as was the haqqani network — —— islamic movement. that were also named in this brics, as was the haqqani network — all pakistan—based organisations. they are no more in our area in the last three years. we have eliminated them. given what we know about what president trump has said in public, are we at a point where there could be, to use the words of some commentators, a divorce between the united states and pakistan? you mean being asked us to do more by the americans? but the threats that have been made by both sides — between the united states, the americans, and pakistan — as to what could happen, that perhaps they stop giving you aid. perhaps, as some pakistanis have threatened — and indeed, pakistan's lower house of parliament voted that pakistan should consider saying "you can't cross the territory." the resolution which was passed
by the parliament — obviously, that was a response to what president trump said, from — he spoke from fort myer. but, talking of aid to pakistan, we are not receiving any aid from the us. hardly anything. so, if they are not supporting us economically... ok, so if they stop it, you will not miss it. but are we talking about a situation where you will seriously consider saying to the americans "you cannot supply your troops in afghanistan via a route through pakistan?" that situation has not arisen. i think that that is a hypothetical but it has happened in the past. but, at the moment, there is nothing. we are not considering — absolutely not considering that. we want to engage the us and we want to convince them
that there is a political approach available and they must adopt that approach. the military approach, like i said earlier, has failed. it has failed, and it has measurably failed. so we can co—operate. ok, so when you saw — when you and your prime minister saw president trump, as you did at the united nations, what was said privately? it was said privately. why are you asking me publicly? because all we know of the public rhetoric is some very angry language that suggests relationships between america and pakistan will be severed. no, i don't think the relationship is injeopardy. we have a difference of opinion, this is true. we have differences on the approach to the afghan problem. afghan peace is as essential to us as anyone else in our region, or the americans.
so we can talk. we have already met vice president pence and our prime minister met briefly the president also, in a reception, and in coming days perhaps there will be a meeting between me and the secretary of state of the us, so there is engagement already there. we are trying to find a common ground whereby our approach, and there is a convergence of our approach and the american approach, to find an afghan solution, and instead of blaming each other for failures or blaming each otherfor something which is not real. one can find a solution. i think we can find a solution. one of the things we know is whilst there is this very angry language between the two sides, and you are saying, look, it's going to be fine, president trump at the same time is applauding the important
contributions to stability in afghanistan by india and asking them to be more involved and this is something that i imagine you wouldn't welcome. you're absolutely right. we do not accept any indian role in afghanistan. that is absolutely correct. i agree with what you are saying. but let me reiterate that politics is not out of politics... . . possible so we are searching for the possible jointly with the americans. you are right, there are statements from both sides which were bitter and accusatory, but the fact remains that the solution can't be found to this problem without pakistan. but you have already told me that the americans are losing
and will lose the war in afghanistan. you know, what i am saying is that the military solution or military approach did not work. so let's push for the political approach and what has happened in the last 15 years or 1a years is that now the afghan taliban has had more territory under their control than they had 1a or 15 years back, so let's try the political option. you have this... you are having this argument almost with america. at the same time, we are hearing really quite bellicose language between pakistan and india. a pakistan official has said, "if ever our national security is threatened by advancing foreign
forces, pakistan will use all of its weapons, and i mean all of our weapons, to defend our country. " the clear suggestion being that that involves nuclear weapons. you know, if there is a threat to our existence, and if there is aggression which is an existential threat to our country, then obviously we will stake everything on it. nobody should have any doubt about it. but do you think india threatens your existence? yes. they walk into our territory, they capture our territory, and then they leverage their position and then they blackmail us. we should explain, the cold start is an indian strategy which they have acknowledged exists which would allow them to respond
to crises, including attacks by militants from pakistan, but it has been made clear that it wouldn't threaten the survival of pakistan. that is their explanation. you know, over the last now ten months, nine months, in 2017, hundreds of violations... they have violated our line of control, our working boundary. in my own constituency, my own district where i live, last month there were five or six violations. seven women died over there. property was destroyed. so this is not the way... whatever they are saying, it's doublespeak and nothing else. you accuse them of doublespeak, but we're talking about, for example, attacks by... on an indian army base in kashmir, 19 indian soldiers killed,
this was last year, india's national investigation agency said lashkar—e—taiba was to blame, the same group they same was to blame for the mumbai attack, in 2008, when so many people were killed. these are the attacks they feel they need to respond to. you know, they accuse us of mumbai or this attack on a military base, but let me tell you, we are demanding from them that they have the accused who masterminded the attack on samjhauta express. they have not done anything on that account, absolutely nothing, but if they have evidence on like the attack on the military base, we can share the evidence and take action accordingly. they have already given pakistan
what they say is proof of that. no, we do not have any conclusive proof of that. that is their version. we have kulbushanjadhav, a serving naval officer, in our custody. he has spilled the beans. he has been masterminding every terrorist attack in different places, in baluchistan and elsewhere in pakistan. he is a serving naval officer, a commander in the indian navy. we have evidence. we actually have the culprit in our custody. but you have said, because a few months ago you were defence minister, and you said, "we will destroy india if it dares to impose war on us. pakistan army is fully prepared to answer misadventure. we have not made atomic devices to display and showcase. if such a situation arises,
we will use it and eliminate india." do you really stand by that? let me reiterate that if india commits aggression against pakistan and if is there is an existential threat to pakistan, we will retaliate with full might. i repeat the same thing. and if lashkar—e—taiba provokes india into a response, you are then in a situation where you will use nuclear weapons? you know, it's again a hypothetical thing. if they take that excuse and commit aggression against pakistan, then obviously there is a war and in war there's no restraint. war is war. let's apply restraint and let's talk and sort out our disputes through negotiations. but how can you talk when you are making such aggressive language?
we have the former head of m16... we do not hate songs from their side, they speak the same language. the former head of m16, the british secret intelligence service, john sawyers, has said pakistan has developed battlefield nuclear weapons, we're talking about tactical weapons, not strategic ones, as a means to defend itself and we have india declaring it would respond militarily if there was another attack, like the one in mumbai. knowing they would be overwhelmed by indian forces, these weapons are pakistan's way of halting indian forces shortly after they cross the border. it makes it sound like war could be very quickly reached, even by accident. you know, i agree with that. that any likelihood of war should be prevented and the only way to prevent that is we start talking to each other. we create an atmosphere
which is conducive to negotiations and sorting out our differences. if, like the foreign minister of india spoke the other day at the un ga, if that sort of accusatory speech or talk is done on a internationalforum we have to respond to that. we cannot take it lying down, or if there are threats to our existence and we just wait for the international community to intervene. we have to respond immediately and respond with full might to protect our existence. that is what i said three months back and that is what i am saying today. but to prevent an accident or prevent a situation which can trigger a war between the two nuclear states, we must devise a mechanism.
khawaja asif, thank you for coming on hardtalk. thank you. hi there. over the last few days, we've been carefully tracking the progress of hurricane maria, which wrecked dominica and puerto rico. lots of weather in the atlantic. a big area of low pressure and a powerfuljetstream over that, a big swell of cloud that looks like a massive ear pushing a band of rain eastwards over the uk over the next 12 hours or so. we will see some rain as we start friday, our main weather front across west scotland
and western england and wales. ahead of that, patches of light rain, drizzle and foggy conditions over the hills of southern england, particularly salisbury plains and the downs. a mild start to the morning, temperatures 16—17 degrees even at eight o'clock in the morning. rain beginning to clear away from western england and wales, some sunshine coming out. the rain could be heavy for a time across north—west england. wet weather with us for some, and a soggy commute to work. most places have the chance of seeing some morning sunshine. through the day, brisk winds pushing rain eastwards across the country. eventually clearing away from east anglia, lincolnshire and yorkshire as well. some blustery showers into northern ireland and western scotland, some quite heavy. starting to feel a good deal cooler across the north—west. temperatures 111—15 degrees. potentially reaching as high as 20 degrees,
some sunshine across eastern england. further clumps of showers coming in across north—western uk, wind staying up overnight. wetter skies across central and eastern england. where those winds fall, it could turn quite chilly. temperatures potentially getting down into single figures in the countryside. the weekend, a mixed bag. a reasonable start, but turning wet and windy during the second half of the weekend. starting off with the forecast for saturday. for most of us, a decent start with some sunshine. quite windy across north—western areas. not entirely dry everywhere, one or two showers mostly across the western side. 1a degrees the top temperature in glasgow, 18 in london. those temperatures coming down a little bit. as for maria, it could bring heavy rain to southern parts of england on monday. quite a bit of uncertainty. getting mixed up in that weather system on sunday, in any case, bringing wet and windy weather to the uk. gales, even severe gales across
the coast across the southwest of the country. blustery showers feeling cool once again across the south—west. so, saturday the better of the two days the weekend. this is bbc news. i'm chris rogers. our top stories: catalonia's plans to stage an independence referendum triggers spain's biggest political crisis in decades. the spanish government says sunday's vote would be unconstitutional and unnecessary. i believe that in catalonia there is a majority of people who want to be a ncestors, a majority of people who want to be ancestors, catalyst, spanish, and europeans. deadline day for ryanair — the airline must sort out compensation for passengers hit by flight cancellations or face hefty sanctions. german police hunt for a man suspected of poisoning jars of baby food in order to blackmail supermarkets. and i'm rachel horne. more connected and more at risk than ever — eu leaders gather in tallinn