Wednesday Jun 23, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked American TV channel HBO Axios to explain why it censored Prime Minister Imran Khan's interview, The News reported Wednesday, citing a private news channel.
In the interview, the prime minister expressed his views on India's Hindutva ideology. However, the comments were not aired.
Following the episode of censorship, the Government of Pakistan has sought an explanation from the American TV channel regarding the matter.
Sources further said that HBO Axois' decision to censor the premier's comments qualify as restricted freedom of expression. The Information Ministry has been instructed to take up the matter with the American TV channel.
The interview was aired on Monday, June 21 at 3:00 am PST and was conducted by Jonathan Swan of HBO Axios.
During the interview, the premier also shed light on the issue of giving Pakistani military bases to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and said that it will "absolutely not" allow this to happen.
“There’s no way we're going to allow any bases or any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not," the premier had said.
He said that Pakistan has suffered the most due to the war against terrorism.
"Over 70,000 Pakistanis embraced martyrdom due to US-Afghan war. We have given sacrifices more than anybody else in this war." He noted that his country is currently hosting three million Afghan refugees.
PM Imran Khan said: "We only want peace and don't want to be part of any confrontation."
"Before leaving Afghanistan, the US must find a political solution."
The comments from the Pakistani premier came amid the commencement of the withdrawal of foreign troops, which will be completed by September, while the peace process is facing hurdles due to disputes among the Afghan leaders.
Responding to a question, the prime minister stated that the country's nuclear programme is only for self-defence.
"I am against nuclear weapons, but our nuclear arsenal is for defence purposes," he said.
PM Imran Khan highlighted that Islamophobia has increased in Europe after 9/11 and urged international efforts to counter this dangerous trend.
He said that in a Muslim society, the concept of Hijab for women is to prevent "evil".
"There is a big difference between our culture and that of the West."
Lashing out at the West's indifference towards the plight of the Kashmiris, the premier said India has turned Kashmir into an open prison by deploying hundreds of troops there.
"The Kashmiris are ignored in the West. Why is this issue not taken up there? I think this is hypocrisy," he said.
The prime minister lavished praise on China, saying the country has supported Pakistan whenever needed.
When asked to comment on the Uighur issue, he said Pakistan and China discuss issues behind closed doors.
The premier also shared how a partial lockdown coupled with comprehensive data analysis helped Pakistan keep the COVID-19 pandemic under control.
He said there were more than 70% informal economy workers and daily-wage earners and the government could not make a decision to force a complete clampdown in the country.
He said the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) performed actively and coordinated with all institutions to implement SOPs.