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Sunday January 29, 2023

N-deterrent not needed if Kashmir solved: Imran

“Why the issue of Uighur Muslims is so important and why are the people of Kashmir ignored,” he said in an interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios on HBO aired on Monday.

By Our Correspondent
June 22, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the West was ignoring genocide in Kashmir, with hundreds and thousands of Kashmiris being martyred by the Indian troops.

“Why the issue of Uighur Muslims is so important and why are the people of Kashmir ignored,” he said, adding 800,000 Indian troops had put the nine million Kashmiris in jail. “Why is this not an issue? This is hypocrisy,” he said in an interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios on HBO aired on Monday.

The premier said the Kashmir dispute, which holds the 1.4 billion people of South Asia hostage, could be settled if the United States shows “resolve and will”. “This festering can ease if the US has the resolve and will. This can be sorted out,” he said.

The Kashmir dispute was put on top agenda by the prime minister as the interviewer asked him about the priorities of discussion when he meets US President Joe Biden in future. Imran Khan said that almost 1.4 billion people in the Sub-Continent are held hostage with one dispute of Kashmir, and the United States being a powerful nation of the world had a big responsibility in that regard. The Kashmir dispute, he said, needed a settlement as per the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council that called for a plebiscite to let the Kashmiris decide about their own future.

Asked about Pakistan's growing nuclear capability, he said Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was simply for its own defence in the scenario of a country seven times of its size. He expressed the belief that the resolution of the Kashmir issue would lead the two countries towards peace.

“We had three wars against India, and ever since we had nuclear deterrence, we had no war although we had some border skirmishes. The moment there is a settlement on Kashmir, I believe the two neighbours will live like civilised nations and we will no longer require nuclear deterrence,” he said.

On the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, he stressed that there must be a prior political settlement as military solution was not the viable option. He hinted at the possibility of a civil war if the US troops pulled out without a political settlement, which, he explained as the “coalition government with Taliban and others as stakeholders”.Asked whether Pakistan would like to welcome the Taliban into the comity of nations, he said, “As far as Pakistan is concerned, whoever is representing the people of Afghanistan, we would deal with them.”

Imran Khan categorically said that Pakistan would ?absolutely not? allow any bases and use of its territory for any sort of action inside Afghanistan.

In response to the question if he would allow the American government to have CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) conduct counter-terrorism missions in Pakistan against al-Qaeda, ISIS or the Taliban, he said, “We will be partners in peace, not in conflict.” “Pakistan could not afford any more military actions from its soil as it was the country that suffered most after Afghanistan,” he added.

To a question if Pakistan would allow the US to use its air space for strikes, he said, ?Such an approach of the US (of airstrikes) did not work for 20 years. “Why would it work again?”

On doing vastly better than the United States on Covid-19, the prime minister said partial lockdown coupled with comprehensive data analysis helped his government keep the pandemic in control. Smart lockdown was the “best decision” to cope with the situation, he added.

Imran Khan recalled that with the people in Spain and Italy ending up in hospitals as Covid-19 raged through Europe, there was a big temptation by the politicians from the opposition for a total lockdown. However, he said, he opted for smart lockdown given the problems of the poor. He mentioned that an effective working of the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) with daily data monitoring and input by the provinces, army, doctors and health specialists helped the government handle the situation.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani called on Prime Minister Imran Khan.During the meeting, matters relating to domestic and international cricket were discussed. Besides, measures taken by the PCB for the improvement of cricket as well as the promotion of league cricket in the country were also discussed.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan chaired a meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI), which unanimously approved the National Electricity Policy 2021.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan visited Islamabad vendors (Rehri Baan) market, says the Prime Minister Office that also shared a short clip, showing Imran Khan driving a vehicle and waving to people, who were standing on both sides of the roads and waving to him. Imran Khan during his visit to New Blue Area had a review of the ongoing construction projects.

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