Time Up for Solving Issues Through Militancy: Imran

Gurgaon: Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Wednesday said time was up for trying to solve Indo-Pak issues through "militancy and militarily" but asserted that unless Kashmir issue was resolved, there was "always a possibility" of Mumbai-like attacks.

Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, also said if his party comes to power, he will not allow terrorism against India to originate from his country's soil.

Addressing a World Economic Forum meeting, he said while improvement in bilateral trade was welcome, the issue of Jammu and Kashmir must also progress on a parallel line.

Terming a solution to the Kashmir issue as "vital", he said "trade, connections, along with cricket matches will help. At the same time, we should develop some sort of a roadmap to resolve Kashmir issue, which is vital.

"Because unless we operate on both plains, there is always a possibility, as it happened, relationships were improving, confidence building measures, cricket matches, people-to-people contacts, and then came Mumbai."

Stressing the need for a "new relationship", he said "no more trying to resolve our problems through militancy and military but through politics. It should be two-pronged. One to normalise, open up relationships with trade on one side and then start a dialogue on Kashmir."

He also noted that his party has three former Pakistani Foreign Ministers who have told him that they had "come pretty close to resolving" the Kashmir issue.

He said lack of trust was a basic problem in Indo-Pak relations which got worse after Mumbai attacks and added that efforts should be made to increase the trust factor.

"We need to have a new relationship. The moment we form the government, we will be able to control militancy and terrorism in our country. Only a strong government can say that 'look we take responsibility for what happens from our soil', whether it is with India or whether it is with the US," Khan said.

Linking terrorism to the ongoing war in Afghanistan, Khan said Pakistan must withdraw and added his country does not need the US financial aid.

"We don't want any aid from the US because that links us with the war. As long as it is the US war that we are fighting, we are not going to win it. So, that is why we must distance. We will win over people of tribal areas to our side, the moment the jihad narrative goes, we will win the war.

"The moment we win the war, then a strong government would be able to guarantee that there would be no terrorism from our side. That is what India wants. Then, we will have the basis of a strong relationship. You will have a strong government that can guarantee that," he said.

He said Pakistan was going through its "worst times".

"War on terror has been imposed on us. We have nothing to do with 9/11. There was no al-Qaeda in Pakistan. There was no Taliban in Pakistan. We have been sucked into this war which has devastated us.

"Around 40,000 people have been killed. There is more extremism than before. There is more polarisation than ever. We are not winning the war and therefore my party stands for a completely different approach on war in terror," he said. (Agencies)

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