Accusing former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government of following a policy of appeasement towards the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that Pakistan’s new leadership, both political and military, will have no talks with terrorist organizations that don’t respect the country’s laws and constitution. “I am confident that if we can work with the Afghan interim government, which has influence over these groups, we will be successful in maintaining our security,” he said in a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post’s senior Associate Editor, Lally Weymouth, in Davos, Switzerland where he is attending the World Economic Forum. The foreign minister said Imran Khan gave TTP a place to hide, not only did he release their prisoners who were in Pakistan’s custody, but also engaged in a dialogue with them. “He (Imran Khan) has always been ideologically sympathetic to their point of view,” he added. To a question whether Pakistan had hoped that the new Afghan government would act against the TTP, FM Bilawal said, “Our hope, and in fact their agreement, was that their soil would not be used for terrorism. We do hope to cooperate with them to deal with terrorists that are a concern to us. “We are both victims of terrorism. I don’t believe that the Afghanistan government will be successful on their own against terrorism, and neither will we be successful on our own against terrorism. We have to work together.” Responding to question, he agreed that if Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007, had lived not only Pakistan would have been a different place, but the region would have gone in a different direction. “The entire purpose of the Pakistan People’s Party has been for Pakistan to be a democratic country. We believe that democracy is the only way to take on extremism and terrorism.” Also asked whether he could become prime minister this year, FM Bilawal said that he would have to win an election first. “Obviously,” he added, “my party will be hoping that we win. My party has its own manifesto, and given the challenges that Pakistan faces, I believe that our manifesto speaks best to the country’s key problems, such as inflation and unemployment. “However, I don’t believe that any one party will be able to solve all of Pakistan’s problems. If [our party wins the most votes], I will seek to form a government as prime minister and have a coalition.’ Here are complete excerpts of the interview as published in The Washington Post: QUESTION: Are you worried that Washington is disengaging from the region? ANSWER: It is true that President (Joe) Biden never spoke with the previous prime minister, Imran Khan. We are hoping going forward for more U.S. engagement with our prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif. Q: Didn’t President Biden make a bit of a mess of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan? A: I believe that whatever the situation is in Afghanistan, it is a reality that we all have to deal with. We need to engage aggressively with the interim government in Afghanistan. Q: Doesn’t the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba have bases all over Pakistan and Afghanistan? And don’t they get support from your intelligence service, the ISI? A: There is a whole alphabet soup of terrorist groups. Pakistan and America’s interests vis-à-vis such terrorist groups are aligned. America has withdrawn from Afghanistan. Now we have to focus on the reality, which is that everyone in the region and around the world is concerned about the potential use of Afghan soil for terrorist activities. Q: Terrorism is having a resurgence in your country. The Pakistani Taliban, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, has made terrible threats against you and your prime minister recently. A: You’re right, I have been threatened by name by the TTP. I get threats all the time. … Unfortunately, this is the reality of the world that we live in. There is clarity among the top military and political leadership in Pakistan, and I am confident that we will be able to overcome these challenges. Q: How grave a danger is posed by the TTP? A: They were involved in the most heinous terrorist attacks in my country, including the assassination of my mother, Benazir Bhutto, in 2007, the attack on Malala Yousafzai in 2012, and the terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar in 2014. They carried out a whole host of terrorist attacks. Pakistan has been proud of the fact that we were successful in taking on these terrorists in our territory, the TTP and others, and we managed to break the backbone of these groups. Unfortunately, the government that preceded ours conducted a policy of appeasement toward the Pakistani Taliban. Q: You mean the government of former prime minister Imran Khan? A: Yes, he gave them a place to hide. Not only did he release TTP prisoners who were in Pakistan’s custody, but Mr. Khan engaged in a dialogue with these forces. He has always been ideologically sympathetic to their point of view. But the new leadership in Pakistan, both political and military, has been absolutely clear. There will be no talks with terrorist organizations that don’t respect our laws and constitution. I am confident that if we can work with the Afghan interim government, which has influence over these groups, we will be successful in maintaining our security. Q: Did Pakistan hope that the new Afghan government would act against the TTP once they came to power? A: Our hope, and in fact their agreement, was that their soil would not be used for terrorism. We do hope to cooperate with them to deal with terrorists that are a concern to us. We are both victims of terrorism. I don’t believe that the Afghanistan government will be successful on their own against terrorism, and neither will we be successful on our own against terrorism. We have to work together.