New Delhi: The landing of a United States military plane carrying American troops in Islamabad has created a huge furore on Twitter, with many Pakistanis bashing Prime Minister Imran Khan for walking back a statement he made recently.
In an interview on HBO’s documentary news series Axios, Khan had said, “Pakistan will “absolutely not” allow the CIA to use bases on its soil for cross-border counterterrorism missions after American forces withdraw from Afghanistan”.
Many applauded Khan’s stance and praised him for his brave response, even making the term #AbsolutelyNot go viral on Twitter at that time.
#AbsolutelyNot is exactly how the Prime Minister of a sovereign nation should respond to those demanding bases in Pakistan. @ImranKhanPTI does the country proud by stumping Axios HBO interviewer for suggesting there could be CIA operations out of Pakistanpic.twitter.com/dBNU9DSx3P
— Javed Hassan (@javedhassan) June 19, 2021
Pakistan will "absolutely not" allow the CIA to use bases on its soil for operations in Afghanistan
PM @ImranKhanPTI to Washington D.C. based News service AXIOS
This is the first time a Pakistani leader has taken such a strong stance against The CIA & America
TABDEELI IS HERE
— Mir Mohammad Alikhan (@MirMAKOfficial) June 18, 2021
Absolutely Not. There is no way we are going to allow any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan: @ImranKhanPTI
Pakistan will not allow the CIA or US special forces to base themselves inside the country ever again.@jonathanvswan @axios #Pakistan pic.twitter.com/PxSPEDkU3c
— Nadeem Malik 🇵🇰 (@nadeemmalik) June 19, 2021
Although Khan’s response was to a question specifically about the CIA, the image of a recent landing of a plane carrying dozens of US soldiers at Islamabad airport has people slamming Khan for not standing by his words. While some feared the return of “Musharraf days”, others felt their country was not rewarded for the evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.
As per local media reports, these soldiers will be accommodated in different hotels in Islamabad but it is still not clear for how long they will be staying there.
A US Military plane has landed at Islamabad Airport carrying US soldiers who will be accommodated in different hotels of Islamabad, per local media reports. #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/mu7rp1P3eU
— Anas Mallick (@AnasMallick) August 29, 2021
Questioning why the US forces have not gone directly to their country or via Qatar like they used to, a user asked if they were back in the days of General Musharraf.
امریکی فوجی اسلام آباد لینڈ کر گئے “کُچھ عرصہ” قیام کے بعد ہی اب واپس جائیں گے، سوال یہ ہے کہ وہ افغانستان سے براہ راست امریکہ یا قطر کیوں نہیں گئے جیسا کہ پہلے ہوتا تھا؟ کیا ہم جنرل مشرف کے دور میں واپس پہنچ گئے؟
Hello #AbsolutelyNot pic.twitter.com/baF69wdPUs
— Absar Alam (@AbsarAlamHaider) August 29, 2021
While another wrote, ‘Thankfully, Pakistan’s nose is so high today that the United States cannot dare to invade your country, but is taking refuge. Otherwise, no one has forgotten the Abbottabad operation after the Musharraf era’.
شکر کریں آج پاکستان کی ناک اتنی اونچی ضرور ہےکہ امریکہ آپکےملک میں گھس کےمارنےکی ہمت نہیں کرسکتابلکہ پناہ لے رہا ہےورنہ مشرف دورکے بعدجب ایبٹ آباد آپریشن ہواتھاوہ بھی کوئی نہیں بھولا۔مشرف دورکےبعدبھی بڑاکچھ ہواہےلیکن یادرکھنے والوں کوبس مشرف تک ہی یادرہتا ہے۔ #absolutelynot https://t.co/qfVIbGjvRK
— Shiffa Z. Yousafzai (@Shiffa_ZY) August 29, 2021
It refers to the US operation in Pakistan’s Abbottabad, where their Navy SEALs found Osama Bin Laden in a compound and killed him on 2 May 2011. Following this, several allegations were made against the Pakistan government for sheltering and hiding some of the high-profile terrorists in their territory.
Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has called the “Abbottabad operation” a big embarrassment for the country but had denied knowledge of anything related to Osama Bin Laden’s presence in the country.
Arshad Sharif, a news anchor at Ary News and host of the channel’s prime time show called “Power play”, expressed anger over Pakistan not being rewarded “for hosting US, UK, NATO troops” as he claimed that the Indian Air Force has bagged a deal worth $328 million with the United States amid the evacuation process in Afghanistan.
He wrote, “Amid C-130Js’ help in #Afghanistan evacuations, #India’s #IAF signed $328 mn deal with US. What did #Pakistan get for hosting #US #UK, #NATO troops? Red list of #UK? Ban on #PIA by #EU? Did anyone negotiate on behalf of #Pakistanis or got money for offshore accounts?”.
Amid C-130Js' help in #Afghanistan evacuations, #India’s #IAF signed $328 mn deal with US. What did #Pakistan get for hosting #US #UK, #NATO troops? Red list of #UK? Ban on #PIA by #EU? Did anyone negotiate on behalf of #Pakistanis or got money for offshore accounts? pic.twitter.com/S9mctVgrku
— Arshad Sharif (@arsched) August 30, 2021
However, one user said the US troops have just landed at Islamabad airport after their evacuation from Afghanistan and will leave after a few days.
US troops land at Islamabad airport after their evacuation from #Afghanistan. They'll travel to their homeland after a few days stay in a luxury hotel in Islamabad.
Pakistan is offering hotels and 21-day transit visa to all foreigners coming from Afghanistan. #Kabul pic.twitter.com/NAqXMYoGof
— Aamir Saeed (@AamirSaeed_) August 29, 2021