Islamabad, Apr 10: Pakistan’s Premier Imran Khan has said he believes there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party BJP wins the general elections.
India will go to elections in seven phases beginning from Thursday (today).
“Perhaps if the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Khan told a small group of foreign journalists in an interview.
He said other parties would be afraid of the right-wing backlash in case of settlement on the Kashmir issue. Khan said Kashmir was the central issue between the two countries.
Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed over 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.
Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter operation, claiming to hit the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.
The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.
Khan has said that Pakistan was taking action against all militants groups including the JeM.
Khan said that groups like the JeM were being disarmed under a serious drive to eliminate militancy from Pakistan.
“We have taken the religious schools of these groups under state control. It is first serious effort to disarm the militant outfits”, he said.
Khan said action was taken because it was important for the future of Pakistan. He also rejected the impression that Pakistan was compelled by the world to take such an action.
He added that the Kashmir liberation movement was a political struggle and there was no military solution.
Imran reiterated that Islamabad was determined to dismantle all militant groups in the country and that the government had the full support of the army for the programme.
The premier said if the polls turned against Modi in the next few weeks, there was still a possibility that India could take military action against Pakistan to boost his party’s election campaign.
“It is vital for Pakistan to have peaceful ties with its neighbours, Afghanistan, India and Iran, if it was to have the kind of economy needed to pull 100 million people out of poverty,” he remarked.
Earlier, Imran accused India and Israel of moral bankruptcy over their election annexation pledges. He questioned whether the citizens of both countries felt outraged at their leaders’ “moral bankruptcy” as they defied international law to gain votes.
“When leaders in Israel and India show a moral bankruptcy in their readiness to annex occupied West Bank and IoK [Indian occupied Kashmir] in defiance of international law, United Nations Security Council resolutions, and their own Constitution for votes, don’t their people feel a sense of outrage and wonder how far they [the leaders] will go simply to win an election?” he asked in a tweet.
Israelis began voting in an election on Tuesday that could hand the conservative Netanyahu a record fifth term or see him dethroned by an ex-general who has pledged clean government and social cohesion. Netanyahu pledged last week to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins the upcoming general election.
India goes to polls next week where BJP would be trying its utmost to return with a thumping win while the main opposition Congress party would attempt to deny Modi’s party continuity in the saddle and to win a majority.
Opposition trolls PM
Pak officially allied with Modi: Cong; Bhakts scratching their heads: Mehbooba; PM will have to answer: Omar
Monitor News Desk
Srinagar, Apr 10: Hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was quoted as saying he sees a better chance of peace talks with India if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP wins the national election, reactions poured in from the opposition, which is often accused by the Prime Minister and the ruling BJP of “speaking Pakistan’s language”.
Leaders from the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Jammu and Kashmir politicians Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti seized the chance to get back at the PM and the ruling party.
Imran Khan has said if the next government in India were led by the Congress party, it might be “too scared” to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Kashmir, fearing a backlash. “Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Imran Khan was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.
“Pakistan has officially allied with Modi! A vote for Modi is a vote for Pakistan,” tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Sing Surjewala. “Modi-ji, first Nawaz Sharif, now Imran Khan is your friend. The secret is out,” he added.
“Why does Pakistan want Modi-ji to win? PM Modi, please tell the nation how deep your relationship is with Pakitan? All Indians should know that if PM Modi wins then crackers will be burst in Pakistan,” tweeted AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal.
“Pakistan mein macha shor, Narendra Modi once more (There’s clamour in Pakistan for a second term for Narendra Modi)” Kejriwal said in another tweet.
Omar Abdullah, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, attacked by PM Modi over his recent comments on a separate PM for the state under the terms of accession, tweeted: “So much for Modi Sahib telling the country only Pakistan and its sympathisers want BJP to lose. Imran Khan has just endorsed him for a 2nd term”.
“Modi will have to answer that because it was Modi only who, till now, was saying that Pakistan and militants want the BJP to lose, but it has become clear today that it is the Pakistan which wants Modi to win again,” Omar told reporters here.
His state rival Mehbooba Mufti, the leader of the PDP and a former BJP ally, remarked: “Bhakts scratching their heads & at wit ends wondering if they should praise Imran Khan or not.”
Relations between Pakistan and India worsened dramatically in February after a suicide bombing killed over 40 soldiers in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.
Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed the attack. Days later, India sent its fighter jets across the border to what it claimed was a strike a militant training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. Pakistan responded the next day by sending planes to target Indian military installations.
PM Modi and the BJP’s re-election bid are seen to have received a boost from a wave of patriotism after Pulwama and the government’s strong response.
Imran Khan, according to the Reuters report, said Islamabad was determined to dismantle all Pakistan-based militant groups in the country, and that the government had full support from Pakistan’s Army for the programme.
Home Minister Amit Shah reviews situation in J&K
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
During the two-hour long meeting, also attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba among others, the home minister was given a detailed presentation on the prevailing security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly along the International Border and the Line of Control.
The home minister took stock of the situation and was briefed about the steps taken to maintain peace along border areas as well as in the Valley, a security official said.
Lieutenant General K J S Dhillon, General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps, which looks after the Kashmir Valley, had recently said there have been infiltration attempts from across the border.
SC allows Azad to visit J&K
The Supreme Court of India on September 16 allowed senior Indian National Congress leader and former Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit his home state.
The apex court allowed Azad to visit Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Jammu.
However, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said Azad will not be allowed to “make any speeches or hold any public rally as per his own submissions”.
Azad had moved SC seeking permission to visit his home state to enquire about the well-being of his family.
Azad’s petition was taken up by a bench of CJI Gogoi, and Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer on September 16.
There are formidable reasons, says SC on J&K curbs
The Supreme Court asked the government to take all steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir but stressed there were “formidable reasons” for the restrictions imposed by the government.
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi which took up a bunch of petitions on the scrapped special status for the state and its impact, also accepted a request from Ghulam Nabi Azad to travel to four districts to reach out to people and ascertain their problems.
Chief Justice Gogoi also responded to a complaint that people weren’t able to approach the high court, offered to ascertain the situation and if need be, even travel to the state.
Justice SA Bobde, one of the three judges on the bench, responded to the Attorney General’s outline of the situation in Kashmir: “These are formidable reasons. A terrible state of affairs”.
“We trust you will endeavour to establish the situation in Kashmir,” the judge told the Centre, asking the government to file an affidavit within two weeks.
Venugopal rejected the contention by journalist Anuradha Bhasin about curbs on media in Kashmir, asserting that all newspapers were being published without any impediment.
At one point when the judges asked a petitioner why he didn’t approach the high court, the bench was told that the complete shutdown prevented people from reaching the court. Chief Justice Gogoi took serious note of the argument and said he would speak with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Justice to ascertain the facts and if necessary, travel to the state.