Pakistan is ready to improve its ties with India and his government would like the leaders of the two sides to resolve all disputes, including the “core issue” of Kashmir, through talks, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan said Thursday asserting that the blame game between the two neighbours, detrimental to the sub-continent, should stop.
“Kashmiris are suffering for long. We have to solve Kashmir issue by sitting across the table. If India’s leadership is willing then the both of us can solve this issue through dialogue. It will be good for the subcontinent also,” 65-year-old Khan said today in his first public address after leading his party to victory in the general elections held yesterday.
“If they take one step towards us, we will take two, but at least (we) need a start,” Khan said.
His party emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly elections, amid rival political parties’ claim of “blatant” rigging in the counting.
Khan, who is set to be the next prime minister of Pakistan, said Kashmir is the “core” issue between the two countries and it should be resolved through talks.
“I am a person who arguably knows the most people in India because of my days in cricket. We can resolve the poverty crisis in South East Asia. The biggest problem is Kashmir,” he said, suggesting that the two sides should come to the table to resolve it.
“We want to improve our relations with India, if their leadership also wants it. This blame game that whatever goes wrong in Pakistan’s Balochistan is because of India and vice versa brings us back to square one,” he said.
“This is not how we will grow, and it is detrimental to the sub-continent,” he added.
He said good India-Pakistan relations will be beneficial for the entire region and suggested to increase trade ties between the two neighbours.
The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place.
The ties between the two countries had strained after the militant attacks in 2016 and India’s “surgical strikes”. The sentencing of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to death by a military court in April last year further deteriorated bilateral ties
The two sides often accuse each other of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, resulting in civilian casualties.
Khan also said that he was very disappointed with the Indian media which had projected him like a “Bollywood villain” in recent weeks.
On ties with the US, he said Pakistan wants a balanced relations with America which should be mutually beneficial, not one sided.
Additionally, Khan said he and his party wanted stronger ties with both Iran and Saudi Arabia.
“We will strengthen our relations with China. They have provided us an opportunity by investing in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” he said.
Pakistan can learn from China, which has effectively tackled corruption and also improved people’s lives, he said.