A day after he declared that his government, army and all political parties in Pakistan are “on the same page” to improve ties with India, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday came up with his first categorical statement on cross-border terrorism and said that it was not in his country’s interest to become a base for “terror activities outside”.
Responding to a question during an interaction with Indian journalists, Khan said: “It is not in Pakistan’s interest to have our territory used for terror activities outside.”Khan also pointed out that there were UN sanctions on 26/11 accused and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, and court cases against him in Pakistan in the Mumbai attack case.
The Pakistan Prime Minister said that “there has been a clampdown” on Saeed’s activities, but also claimed that he had “inherited” the issue. “There is a UN sanction on Hafiz Saeed. There is a clampdown. But I have inherited it. In the Mumbai terror case, the case is in court,” he said.
Khan’s remarks on Saeed came the morning after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Indian reporters that there has been no “tangible evidence” against Saeed. Khan, meanwhile, said that while a consensus for peace has developed, Pakistan’s outreach should not be confused as “desperation for peace”.
Expressing his disappointment at the cancellation of a proposed bilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries, Khan said: “I got such a bad response that I felt almost as if there is no intention for peace… why would anyone be scared of dialogue? Insaan koshish hi kar sakta hai (one can only try).”
Asked about his tweet in the aftermath of India cancelling the bilateral meet — that he had come across “small men occupying big offices” who don’t see the big picture — Khan said it was not directed at anyone.
However, he said, Kashmir was a dispute and there is a need to resolve it. “Kashmir needs to be seen differently, there are no easy solutions for Kashmir. But I believe there is a solution. But solutions will come when there is a dialogue… We always get stuck in the past, let’s not live in the past, and learn from it,” he said.
On Wednesday, speaking after laying the foundation stone for the historic Kartarpur Corridor — 120 km from Lahore — linking two revered gurdwaras on both sides of the border, Khan had said: “If India takes one step forward, then we will take two steps forward toward friendship.”