Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan sees better chance of peace talks with India if Prime Minister Narendra Modi wins the 2019 Lok Sabha polls which are scheduled to begin on Thursday, April 11.
Khan said that if the next Indian government were led by the Congress party, it might be too scared to talk to Pakistan, fearing a backlash from the right.
“Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Khan told a small group of foreign journalists in an interview.
“I never thought I would see what is happening in India right now,” said the former international cricket star. “Muslim-ness is being attacked.
Comparing Modi with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Khan said both leaders were electioneering based on “fear and nationalist feeling”.
Khan said the BJP’s promise to repeal Article 35A of the Constitution, which ensures special land rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, was a major concern, though it could also be electioneering.
“The BJP’s pledge this week to propose stripping decades-old special rights from the people of Jammu and Kashmir, which prevent outsiders from buying property in the state, was a major concern, though it could also be electioneering,” Imran Khan said.
Imran Khan did appear to offer India an olive branch, saying that Islamabad was determined to dismantle all Pakistan-based militias in the country, and that the government had full support from Pakistan’s powerful army for the programme. Those to be dismantled include groups involved in Kashmir.
Khan said that it was vital for Pakistan to have peace 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.
Election for 543 Lok Sabha is to be held in seven phases and will begin from 11 April and end on 19 May. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.