Would love to have TV debate with Indian counterpart to resolve issues: Pak PM
HT NEWS NETWORK
Islamabad, Feb 22: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that he would like to have a TV debate with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to resolve differences between the two neighbouring countries
Khan made the remarks during an interview with Russia's state-run television network RT on the eve of his maiden two-day visit to Moscow - the first by a Pakistani premier in over two decades during which he will hold talks with President Vladimir Putin and review exchange views on major regional and international issues.
"I would love to debate with Narendra Modi on TV," Khan said in response to a question.
He added that it would be so good for over a billion people of the subcontinent if differences between Pakistan and India could be resolved through a debate.
Responding to a question, Khan said when his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf came into power in 2018 he immediately reached out to India and asked the Indian leadership to sit down at the table and resolve the Kashmir issue.
"I told them our only issue is Kashmir. Let's sit down at [the] table and resolve it, Imran said, adding that he knew India better than most people. He also cited his contacts in India due to playing cricket for Pakistan.
He, however, regretted that India did not respond positively to his overtures.
Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on an Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.
The relationship dipped further after India's wawarplanesounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 i,n response to the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
The relations deteriorated after India announced withdrawing the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August, 019.
India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir "was, is and shall forever" remain an integral part of the country. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.
India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.
Prime Minister Khan also expressed hope for a "peaceful solution" to the ongoing conflict between
Russia and Ukraine as he emphasized that military conflict could never solve problems.
"I am not a believer in military conflicts. I believe the civilized societies resolve the difference through dialogues and countries that rely on military conflicts have not studied history properly," Khan said during the interview.
Khan said he was sure that people in Ukraine and Russia were aware of the consequences of an impending conflict. He maintained that Ukraine and Russia supply wheat to the world, "imagine if there's conflict what will happen to the poorer countries" already reeling from the impact of the Covid-19.
President Putin on Monday signed decrees to recognize Ukraine's regions of Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics as independent, escalating the tension in the region and increasing fears of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. He also ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine in what the Kremlin called a "peacekeeping" mission in the Moscow-backed regions.
The US-led West has warned Russia that it would face severe consequences for its actions in Ukraine
Khan said Pakistan will not play camp politics as it wanted to have trade relations with all countries to lift its populace out of poverty.
Speaking about the Cold War that ravaged the world from the 1950s to the 90s, Khan said Pakistan initially had joined a camp because it needed money after the influx of millions of refugees in the aftermath of the partition
"But the country should have left the US camp after a decade or so and pursued an independent policy," he said, calling reliance on foreign aid a curse.
"Such aid stops a country from evolving and developing and becoming self-reliant, he said, adding that the reliance on hand-outs stops a country from becoming independent.
Khan said Pakistan wanted trade ties with all countries, including its neighbours. Speaking about the past, he said it was not possible to trade with India because of its hostile attitude.