Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the idea of a war between two nuclear-armed countries cannot even be contemplated.
He said although an all-out conflict is not imminent between the two South Asian neighbours, but international powers including the United Nations (UN) and United States must act to prevent any further escalation in tensions.
The prime minister said this while speaking at an event hosted by the International Media Council on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.
“Whatever is happening in India is disastrous for people in India, specially those living in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, referring to recent controversial moves by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi including introducing an anti-Muslim citizenship bill and revoking semi-autonomous status of of the country’s only Muslim-majority region, Kashmir.
PM Imran said Pakistan desires peaceful resolution of all conflicts through dialogue. “I’ve always believed that the only way forward is via peace settlements. We want to mend our fences with Iran; we had some border issues with them … and then with India,” he added.
“I have more friendships in India than anyone else,” he remarked while referring to cricketing background. “I thought I was well placed to talk peace between our two countries,” he added.
Premier Imran said all his peace overtures were responded with aggression by the Modi-led BJP government.
He said he reached out to Narendra Modi, but the reaction was “really weird”.
“The subcontinent hosts the highest number of poor people in the world. And we could talk to reduce poverty and increase trade. I tried to talk but hit a brick wall,” he said.
Instead of initiating peace talks, the premier said the Modi-led government violated the Pakistani airspace in the aftermath of Pulwama incident in February last year.
“We then shot down an Indian plane, but returned the captured pilot at the earliest possible to ease down the tensions,” he remarked.
However, India unilaterally annexed Kashmir, revoked articles in their own constitution and since then it has gone from bad to worse, said the Pakistani premier.
“This ideology of Hindutva … the RSS ideology is inspired by the Nazis who believed in racial superiority, and who believed in hatred against other religions.
“I feel bad because it’s such a big country with huge populations of minorities, from Muslims to Christians to Dalits. They are trying to change the demographics of Kashmir which is against the Geneva conventions.”
Responding to a question on the country’s economy, the cricketer-turned-politician said Pakistan was one of the fastest growing economies in 1960s. “My contention is that it is corruption due to which countries become poor and not lack of resources,” he added.
The accountability bureau, state institutions and tax collection system were destroyed by corrupt rulers to make black money, said the prime minister, adding that “mega projects were infested with mega kickbacks”.
“We are trying to strengthen state institutions. We have tightened up laws on money laundering,” he maintained.
He said Pakistan’s growth rate in the past was “artificial” as it was import-led growth. “This time, we have cut down the current account deficit by 70 per cent while imports are cut down and exports which were stagnant for five years are showing signs of improvement. The stock market and investments are also on the right track,” he insisted.
“This is the first time that civil military relationships are on one page. In the past, it was not possible as intelligence agencies clearly knew that politicians were making money through corruption.”