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Imran raises Kashmir, hopes that Pakistan would not have to wait for 'Sidhu as PM' to usher in peace

11/28/2018

Kartarpur (Pakistan), In a veiled attack on the present Indian leadership, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said he hopes his country will not have to wait for a leader like Navjot Singh Sidhu to become 'Prime Minister of India' for everlasting relations between two countries. In what could also create more hurdles in reviving the talks between India and Pakistan, Mr Khan also raised the 'Kashmir' bogey at the Kartarpur function. "I hope we don't have to wait for Sidhu to become Indian Prime Minister to ensure peace and everlasting friendship between two nations," Mr Khan said after laying the foundation stone for the much talked about and long awaited Kartarpur Corridor. "Sirf irade waley leadership chahiye border ke dono taraf (We only need leadership with strong determination on both sides of the border)," he said. Indian government sees Pakistan's stance on Jammu and Kashmir as 'interference' in the internal matters of India. Speaking in presence of Indian Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Hardeep Singh Puri - two Sikh cabinet ministers in the Narendra Modi government and Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu among others, the Pakistan Prime Minister made a veiled criticism on BJP leadership in India for their attack on cricketer-turned-politician (Sidhu) for his visit during Imran Khan's swearing in ceremony. He insisted Sidhu had not committed any crime by pitching hard for peace between India and Pakistan. "Kaun sa zurm kiya tha (What crime did Sidhu do)". The Pakistan Prime Minister also said 'Kashmir' remains the only major issue of difference between the two countries. "Hamara masla ek hae, Kashmir ka .... (The only issue between us is Kashmir)," Imran Khan said. "Human race has reached moon. Tell me what is the issue that human beings cannot solve. Can't India and Pakistan resolve one issue (Kashmir)," Earlier, in his speech former cricketer Mr Sidhu credited Mr Imran Khan for the Kartarpur corridor.Endorsing what Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said few days back, Akali Dal leader and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said Wednesday's occasion was similar to the fall of Berlin wall."If Berlin Wall can be brought down, why cannot we erase the differences between India and Pakistan," she said. Imran Khan also said Mr Sidhu's popularity in Punjab is such that he can easily contest and win election there.The Kartarpur Corridor development, on face value , has not able to make much headway in diplomatic sense for reviving stalled talks between India and Pakistan. Earlier in the day, addressing a press conference in Hyderabad, India, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj virtually snubbed the Imran Khan-led dispensation when she she said PM Modi will not visit Pakistan for the SAARC Summit. "We have to take the big picture," Ms Swaraj said adding "Until and unless Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India there will be no dialogue and we will not participate". Media reports in Pakistan on Tuesday quoted Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesman Mohammad Faisal as stating that : “Prime Minister Modi will be invited to Pakistan for the SAARC summit". India is seen as being instrumental in 'isolating' Pakistan in South Asia as the 2016 SAARC Summit slated to be hosted in Islamabad was called off after a deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, after New Delhi expressed its inability to participate in the SAARC Summit as protest to Uri attack, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate."Kartarpur Corridor and talks are different things," Ms Swaraj said. "I had already visited Pakistan and it was me only who started the comprehensive bilateral dialogue, but what happened after that Pathankot, what happened after that Uri," she said. BJP sources have made it clear on Sunday that the government of India has 'not yet taken' Kartarpur corridor development as a "diplomatic turnaround episode" in Indo-Pak relations. "This is a socio-political and religious issue. We do not see it as any diplomatic breakthrough. a BJP source has told agencies here. Imran Khan apparently created more hurdles in reviving the talks by raising the 'Kashmir' bogey in Kartarpur function.

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