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Web Desk
January 22, 2020

PM Imran says no immediate fear of war between Pakistan and India


Web Desk
Wed, Jan 22, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan attends the World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2020. AFP/Jim Watson

DAVOS: There is no immediate fear of a war between Pakistan and India, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Wednesday while speaking to reporters here in the Swiss city hosting the World Economic Forum 2020.

Addressing the strategic situation in South Asia, PM Imran said a full-fledged conflict between two nuclear-armed states should not even be thought of considering the possible devastation it would create across the world.

He said that Pakistan wishes to resolve all the conflicts with India peacefully but that Kashmir was an internationally-recognised disputed region between Islamabad and New Delhi.

Conflicts between both nations need to be resolved according to the United Nations' resolutions, he said.

Brick wall

Noting that tensions between the two countries ratcheted up after the February 2019 Pulwama attack, the premier said Pakistan had responded befittingly to the Indian aggression that followed, which included downing two Indian fighter jets on February 27 leading to the capture and eventual release of IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and persistent violations along the Line of Control (LoC).

Explaining that he had come across a brick wall in his conversation with Modi, PM Imran said he had asked India for actionable intelligence behind the Pulwama attack but that the "dossier arrived after Indian jets bombed Pakistan".

Speaking about the situation in occupied Kashmir consequent to India's unilateral decision on August 5, 2019 to revoke the Himalayan region's special status, the prime minister said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government had since restricted eight million Kashmiris to their homes — an open prison manned by 900,000 troops.

The premier said Modi's flawed policy — disastrous for his own country — had led to the worsening situation in the Muslim-majority valley. While there was no immediate fear of a war between Pakistan and India, the prime minister said he had spoken to Trump on the situation in occupied Kashmir.

'Decent relationship for first time'

India was "trying to change the demography of Kashmir, which is a war crime according to the Geneva Convention", he said. "Our government is busy with rehabilitation work in the border areas.

"The UN should send its observers to the Line of Control."

Separately, speaking about the situation in Afghanistan, the premier said Pakistan was impacted by the state of affairs in the country. Trade in central Asia would only be possible if there was peace in Afghanistan, he noted.

PM Imran underscored that the US-Pakistan linkages were improving — noting that both countries had a "decent relationship for the first time"  — and that Islamabad wished to bolster trade with Washington but the War on Terror had severely affected the country's border areas, where authorities were still working on resuming normalcy.

'Firm believer in peace'

The US believed that the solution to the Afghanistan conflict was through strength, he said, adding that he was a "firm believer" in peace and that military conflicts were never the solution.

"I was also called a Taliban supporter because of my viewpoint," he added, noting, however, that when Washington faced defeat in Afghanistan, it held Pakistan responsible.

The past governments in Pakistan were in the wrong for making promises to the US, he said. They had damaged the country's institutions for personal gains. Over 70,000 people were killed in the war on terror and it had "created more terrorists because of collateral damage". 

PM Imran highlighted that "Pakistan should never have accepted this challenge [as] we could not do it, we couldn't deliver". he said. Now, however, it was just a question of how to have the Taliban return to the discussion table alongside the US and the Afghan government. 

 "Our government is now in  the right direction to improve the economy [and] there  has been satisfactory improvement in the investment over the past year," the prime minister said.

"We have the Pakistan Army's complete cooperation in foreign policy," he added.