On a day his Pakistan-e-Tehreek government completed 100 days in power, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for the first time addressed the issue of terrorism, which has been a thorn in the resumption of bilateral dialogue with India. Asserting that it was not in Pakistan’s interest to allow the use of its territory for terror acts on other countries, Khan said the people now wanted peace with India.
“It is not in our interest to allow the use of Pakistan’s territory for terror outside. People in Pakistan want peace with India. The mindset of people here has changed,” Khan said. Interestingly, Khan’s comments on terrorism come just a day after Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj made it clear that India would not attend the SAARC summit in Islamabad “until and unless” Pakistan stopped sponsoring terror.
On Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Khan said, “There are UN sanctions against Hafiz Saeed. There is already a clampdown on the JuD chief.” The Pakistan PM said he was ready for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi while maintaining that the gesture for peace can’t be one-sided.
“Let us talk. I am ready for talks on any issue. I will be happy to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and talk to him,” Khan said. The fresh peace overtures come at a time when India has maintained a stoic stance that terrorism and talks cannot go together.
When asked whether it is possible to resolve the Kashmir issue, the Pakistan PM said, “nothing is impossible”. “There can’t be a military solution for Kashmir. We are willing to wait for (general) elections to get over in India for a gesture from New Delhi,” Khan said.
Khan had also made a strong pitch for India-Pakistan peace during the foundation stone-laying event of the Kartarpur Corridor on Wednesday, which was attended by Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri. He said his government, the army and all political parties in Pakistan were “on the same page” to improve ties with India.