‘Breaking up with the US won’t hurt Pakistan’ – ex-Pakistan PM Shaukat Aziz

Former Pakistani prime minister and finance minister Shaukat Aziz sat down with Sophie Shevardnadze to talk about Islamabad’s turbulent relations with the US, Chinese investment in Pakistan and fighting terrorism in neighbouring Afghanistan.

“Dealing with the US is a very complex relationship,” Aziz says. Pakistan was “the most allied ally,” but at the same time “the most sanctioned” ally of the US. The already strained relations between the two countries have plunged to a new low recently, as Islamabad and Washington exchanged travel restrictions on each other’s diplomats. “A general view that ending of US-Pakistani ties will hurt Pakistan isn’t true.” Aziz says that Pakistan “will do what is in its national interests,” even if it means “disagreeing with a friend or some other stakeholders.” 

Meanwhile, Pakistan has been strengthening links with China by boosting economic cooperation. Beijing’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative has “no sinister or hidden agenda,” Aziz says. “The agenda is peace, progress and prosperity. That’s all.”

Pakistan is seeking the same aim in Afghanistan, where Taliban militants continue to expand their control. “Pakistan will be the biggest beneficiary of a peaceful, strong, vibrant Afghanistan,” Aziz says. “No country in their right mind will support terrorism, particularly Pakistan, which has been a major victim,” he says, adding the solution to the Afghanistan crisis should be “through economic development, good governance.” 

To find out more, tune in for a full interview on SophieCo.