Imran Khan sees better chance of peace talks with India if BJP wins election

Updated on Apr 10, 2019 11:31 AM IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said if the opposition Congress party were to come to power, it might be too scared to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Kashmir.

Imran Khan did appear to offer India an olive branch, saying that Islamabad was determined to dismantle all Pakistan-based militias in the country.(PTI)
Imran Khan did appear to offer India an olive branch, saying that Islamabad was determined to dismantle all Pakistan-based militias in the country.(PTI)
Islamabad | ByReuters

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he thinks there may be a better chance of peace talks with India if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP wins the general elections.

Khan said that if the next Indian government were led by the opposition Congress party, it might be too scared to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Kashmir.

“Perhaps if the BJP wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Khan told a small group of foreign journalists in an interview.

He said Modi, like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was electioneering based on “fear and nationalist feeling”.

The BJP’s pledge this week to propose stripping decades-old special rights from the people of Jammu and Kashmir, which prevent outsiders from buying property in the state, was a major concern, though it could also be electioneering, Khan said.

Khan did appear to offer India an olive branch, saying that Islamabad was determined to dismantle all Pakistan-based militias in the country, and that the government had full support from Pakistan’s powerful army for the programme. Those to be dismantled include groups involved in Kashmir.

Khan said Kashmir was a political struggle and there was no military solution.

Relations between Pakistan and India reached a crisis point in February after a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir.

Islamabad denied responsibility for the February 14 attack, which was claimed by Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, but the bombing prompted India to carry out a cross border air strikes against a militant training camp in Pakistan.

The parliamentary election is being held in phases in India and does not finish until May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.

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