LAHORE, NOV 21: Former prime minister Imran Khan has sought the need for Pakistan to mend ties with India but made it clear that a good relationship would be impossible while the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) remains in power.
In an interview with British newspaper The Telegraph on Monday, the PTI chairman shed light on the economic benefits that could be achieved if the two neighbours establish trade with each other.
“The benefits would be enormous,” he said, but then contended that New Delhi’s stance on Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) was the main impediment.
“I think it’s possible but the BJP government is so hardline, they have a nationalistic stance on issues. “It is frustrating as you have no chance (for a resolution) as they whip up these nationalistic feelings. And, once this genie of nationalism is out of the bottle it is very difficult to put it back in again,” the former premier told The Telegraph.
“All we know is that they should have a road map for the solution of Kashmir. People in Pakistan cannot accept that Kashmiris, who were given their right by the international community to choose their destiny through a plebiscite, have seen India steamroll this resolution.”
Imran added that Pakistan had to cool off its relationship with India when the neighbouring country took away the statehood of IIOJK.
Pakistan formally downgraded its trade relations with India in August 2019 to the level of Israel with which Islamabad has no trade ties at all. The decision had come as a reaction to India’s decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution that granted occupied Kashmir a special status.