ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that there might be a better chance of peace talks with India if his counterpart Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the general elections.
“If the next Indian government is led by the opposition Congress party, it might be too scared to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), fearing a backlash from the right,” the prime minister told a small group of foreign journalists in an interview.
“Perhaps if the BJP – a right wing party — wins, some kind of settlement on Kashmir could be reached.”
This is despite the massive alienation that Muslims in IOK and India are facing under the Modi regime, Imran observed.
“I never thought I would see what is happening in India right now. Muslim-ness is being attacked.”
The prime minister said Indian Muslims he knew — who many years ago were happy about their situation in India — were now very worried by extreme Hindu nationalism.
“Modi, like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is electioneering based on fear and nationalist feeling.”
The prime minister noted that the BJP’s pledge this week to propose stripping decades-old special rights from the people of IoK that prevent outsiders from buying property there is a major concern, though it could also be electioneering.
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.
With additional reporting from News Desk.