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Since 1st March, 1999
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Pak returns to Bush moral-values lecture
Pakistani interior minister Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat in Islamabad. (AFP)

Islamabad, April 14 (Reuters): Pakistan, a key US ally in the war on terror, said today American policies were polarising the world between Muslims and non-Muslims, and creating a highly charged and potentially violent atmosphere.

Criticising the use of force against Iraq, interior minister Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat said Washington should adopt a more humane approach as the world’s sole superpower, and practice the higher moral values that it preaches.

“He talks of the maintenance of higher moral values, but these values have to be amply demonstrated outside,” he said, in a reference to US President George W. Bush.

Hayat said at times the US seemed to put too much emphasis on its own short-term interests and not enough on its global responsibilities. “There is a very strong feeling that the US always has very limited and very short-term objectives.”

Washington justified its invasion of Iraq because it said Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction which could be used against the West. “They talk of their own apprehensions, their own perceptions. Now at times they could be right, but at times their perceptions need to be right-sized. The overall strategy needs to be re-thought.”

“The US as the sole superpower has certain other functions to fulfil also,” he added. “These functions should certainly have a more humane dimension.”

Hayat complained of double standards in the way UN resolutions over Palestine and the disputed mainly Muslim region of Kashmir had not been implemented for decades, while Iraq was attacked even without UN approval.

“The Iraq war hasn't helped to bridge the gap between the West and Muslim countries,” he said. “Until these double standards are eliminated, the gap is going to get wider.”

The new doctrine of preemptive war would “certainly add to the highly charged atmosphere”, he said.

Asked if it might unleash a new era of violence around the world, Hayat said: “I wouldn’t rule it out.”

US-backed forces toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan late in 2001. Hayat warned that support for the Taliban could resurface in Afghanistan because the West had failed to fulfil its promises to rebuild the country.

“There is a lot of despondency,” he said.“The international community has not been able to come up to the expectations of the Afghan people, even their own commitments.”

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