Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had made mistakes in the first phase of local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and paid the price. Selection of wrong candidate, he tweeted, was a major cause. However, he expressed resolve that in the second phase of LG polls, the PTI would bounce back with strength. “PTI made mistakes in the first phase of KP LG elections & paid the price. Wrong candidate selection was a major cause. From now on I will personally be overseeing PTI’s LG election strategy in 2nd phase of KP LG elections & LG elections across Pak. InshaAllah, PTI will come out stronger,” he said. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan participated in the US-led war on terror in Afghanistan not in public interest but for dollars. He made these remarks during his interaction with the Foreign Office (FO) officers and congratulated and appreciated them for hosting the OIC session on Afghanistan last week in an admirable manner. Imran said he was close to the decision-makers when they had to decide whether or not Pakistan should join the war on terror. “I am well aware of the considerations behind the decision. Unfortunately, the people of Pakistan were not a consideration. The considerations, instead, were the same as in the 1980s when we participated in the Afghan jihad,” he said. Terming the war a self-inflicted wound for Pakistan, Imran said, “We cannot blame anyone else for this outcome [of the decision].” “We ourselves are responsible … as we let [others] use us, sacrificed the reputation of our country for aid and made a foreign policy that went against the public interest [and was devised] for money.” “The attendance at the summit and the appreciation of Pakistan’s stance [at the moot] reflect that the country’s image has improved globally,” the premier said, adding, “We have achieved the objective behind hosting the conference.” Imran said the Muslim countries’ stance on the Afghan situation was a universal stance now. “Look at the statements by the Europeans, they are standing with us and the UN too has a clear stance.” “We faced the biggest financial crunch in Pakistan’s history. I don’t think any other government was handed down such wide fiscal and current account deficits and then there was also the corona pandemic]. Yet, if you compare where Pakistan stands today [globally] to where it stood three years ago, if you conduct a survey, you will see that the country’s image has improved”. Speaking about the situation in Afghanistan, he said, “It is a big atrocity at the human level that a man-made crisis is being created in the war-torn country. “Even when it is known that unfreezing Afghanistan’s accounts and [infusing] liquidity [into the country’s banking system] will avert the crisis.” The premier said addressing the situation in Afghanistan was important not just because it was Pakistan’s neighbour, but “above all [because] the country was facing a humanitarian crisis”. “We have been saying this from day one, from August 15 [when the Taliban seized Kabul], that whether you like the Taliban government on not, the lives of 40 million people are on the brink of destruction,” he said. The prime minister added that Pakistan would continue to provide assistance to Afghanistan in these difficult times. “Time”, he said, “is of the essence and we must provide aid to Afghanistan expeditiously”. Lauding the nation’s mettle to face different testing times, he stressed upon inculcation of ‘self-belief,’ a quality which could serve as a beacon of light in hard times. He said it was the self-belief that always entailed changes. “When you instill self-belief in yourself as a nation, you can achieve marvels. When the earthquake hit the country (during 2005), the whole nation was mobilized and after floods (of 2010), the nation contributed, which reflected that the nation had the capability to always stand the tests of time,” he added. The prime minister also referred to his cricket career and the performance of the national cricket team which achieved success when motivated with self-belief. “The country has a huge talented population of 220 million people along with 9 million overseas Pakistanis who are capable of achieving anything as they have excelled in every field,” he expressed his optimism.