Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said it was not in his country’s interest to allow use of Islamabad’s territory for terror activities outside the country, PTI reported. In an interaction with Indian journalists in Islamabad following the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, Khan said he looked forward to talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Wednesday, Khan laid the foundation of a corridor that will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of the country’s Narowal district, where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, died in 1539, to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Punjab state. India’s Ministry of External Affairs had criticised Khan for for raising the Kashmir dispute in his speech at the foundation-laying ceremony.
On Thursday, Khan defended his statement on Kashmir. “I said it in context that Kashmir is what stops us from moving forward,” he said.
Khan said people in Pakistan want peace with India. “I tried to reach out [to India] the moment I became prime minister but I got such a bad response,” Khan said in an apparent reference to cancellation of talks at the United Nations General Assembly.
Khan said the gesture for peace cannot be one-sided. “We are willing to wait for [General] elections to get over in India for a gesture from New Delhi,” he said.
Khan said the Kashmir dispute can be resolved. “But it [dispute] should not be seen as a territorial issue with a military solution,” the Pakistani prime minister said. “We need imagination and a belief in peace dividends.”
He expressed willingness to open more religious routes for Hindu pilgrims, including the Sharda Peeth Neelam Valley, an abandoned temple in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Earlier on Thursday, Peoples Democratic Party chief and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had called for the opening of the Sharda Peeth pilgrimage site.
Asked about his government’s stance on gangster Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed – the alleged mastermind of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, Imran Khan said. “We cannot live in the past,” Khan said. “There are UN sanctions against his [Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa] group,” the prime minister told reporters. “There is a clampdown on him. There is a case against the accused in the Mumbai attacks and matter is subjudice.”
The prime minister said Pakistan “also has a list of wanted individuals living in India”.