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November 15, 2019

I tried my best to mend ties with India: PM Imran

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November 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said Pakistan has learnt a lesson in the last four decades that “we must not ally ourselves with any country where we have to fight someone else’s war”.

Addressing an international conference Margalla Dialogue 19 organised by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) here on Thursday, he reminded that Pakistan suffered a lot due to its policy of becoming part of foreign conflicts in the past, vowing that the country “from now onwards will only play a conciliatory role between rival nations”. The prime minister said: “Initially, in the past, our governments thought that they would gain by becoming a frontline state for some powerful country. We gained something in the shape of foreign aid but in the end, if we analyse, we lost more than what we gained.”

He said many of the problems the country has been facing today are the results of the flawed decisions made during 1980s and 1990s. Referring to the Kashmir conflict, the prime minister said that after coming into power, he tried his best to mend ties with India as both the countries are facing same grave challenges of climate change and poverty. “India is in the grip of extremist ideology and their ideology is based on hatred and racial superiority, which is similar to the ideology of the Nazi party in Germany,” he said, adding that when the Nazi party came into power in Germany, no one had the idea where it was heading to and “today India is facing a similar situation”. He warned if the international community does not intervene in the Kashmir conflict, “there will be catastrophe as the two nuclear armed countries have come face-to-face”.

He said that on August 5, India stripped OccupieKashmir of the special autonomy it had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order. By repealing Article 370 of the constitution, people from the rest of India will now have the right to acquire property in the disputed territory and settle there permanently. Kashmiris see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers. Pakistan had strongly condemned the move and vowed to “exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps” taken by New Delhi. He urged the world community to step in to avoid any serious situation in South Asia as Modi regime in India is pursuing an ideology of hate in the region. India is committing atrocities against the people of Kashmir in Indian-held Kashmir. He said millions of people have been under siege in Occupied Kashmir for over one hundred days. He said there is complete communication blockade in the valley and youths are being picked by Indian troops.

Regarding Afghanistan, the prime minister said peace in that country is beneficial not only to Pakistan but for the whole region, especially the landlocked Central Asian Republics. He said Pakistan is plying its role for peace in Afghanistan as there is no military solution to this issue and it should be resolved politically. He mentioned that Pakistan is also making efforts to ensure that there is no conflict in the region for which it is also reaching out to Iranian and Saudi leadership for forging tranquility among the brotherly Muslim countries.

The prime minister said: “Besides making efforts to ensure peace in the region, we are also opening up our country for investors, tourists, and other activities.”

Meanwhile, in a meeting with DS Jaspal, a writer and researcher hailing from India, Imran khan said opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is in line with Islamic principles, Pakistan's policy of promoting inter-faith harmony and Quaid-i-Azam’s vision of a peaceful neighborhood.

DS Jaspal is a former civil servant and has authored a book “Tryst with Trees”, documenting historical Gurdawaras named after trees. Many of these Gurdwaras are located in Pakistan and are named after indigenous trees. Jaspal is visiting Pakistan in connection with the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

The prime minister said the historic initiative to open the Kartarpur Corridor on the auspicious occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak was to meet the longstanding request of Nanak NaamLevas and especially the Sikh community across the world, particularly from India.

Jaspal thanked the prime minister for the historic Kartarpur initiative and the warm hospitality extended by Pakistan to all Sikh pilgrims.

Chairing another meeting to review progress on PSDP here, the prime minister stressed the need for ensuring optimal and timely utilization of funds allocated by the federal government under the Public Sector Development Programme. He directed close coordination among ministries executing development projects to ensure jobs for youths. He said policies need to be harmonized to yield desired results. He directed that focus should be on those ministries which are executing development projects as this would facilitate job creation and counter unemployment. He said economic development would ensure better opportunities for the youth.

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