Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has openly supported PM Modi for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Imran Khan said that if the next Indian government were led by the opposition Congress party, it might be too scared to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Kashmir, fearing a backlash from the right.
“Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Imran Khan told a small group of foreign journalists in an interview.
‘Muslim-ness is being attacked’
“I never thought I would see what is happening in India right now,” said the former international cricket star. “Muslim-ness is being attacked.”
Imran Khan said Indian Muslims he knew who many years ago had been happy about their situation in India were now very worried by extreme Hindu nationalism.
Khan later attacked Modi for his Jammu Kashmir stand
He said Modi, like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was electioneering based on “fear and nationalist feeling”.
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.
Khan said that Pakistan is determined to fight with terrorism
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.
No military solution
Imran Khan said Kashmir was a political struggle and there was no military solution, adding that Kashmiris suffered if armed militants from Pakistan came across the border, leading to Indian army crackdowns.
Imran Khan’s open support to PM Modi has come in the backdrop of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) using the Balakot airstrike as a poll plank.
Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the February 14 terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, that took the lives of as many as 40 CRPF personnel.
Imran Khan, however, continued to maintain Jaish was nowhere associated with Islamabad.
In retaliation to the Pulwama attack, India launched an airstrike on Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26. Pakistan retaliated by bombing Indian military installations. The attempt was foiled by the Indian Air Force.
But IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistani forces and was later released as a peace gesture, as termed by Imran Khan, on March 1.
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