Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said he was ready to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi while conceding that it was not in the interest of his country to “allow terror activities from its territory”.
Khan’s remarks came a day after external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj categorically ruled out possibility of holding talks with Pakistan unless it stops cross-border militant activities.
“It is not in our interest to allow use of Pakistan’s territory for terror outside”, Khan, who celebrated 100 days of his government Thursday, said during an interaction with a group of Indian journalists here.
Khan said that people in Pakistan want peace with India and he will be happy to meet Modi and talk to him on any issue.
“I am ready for talks on any issue. There can’t be a military solution for Kashmir,” he said, adding “nothing is impossible”, when asked whether it is possible to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“The mindset of people here has changed,” Khan said, a day after he laid the foundation-stone for the Kartarpur corridor that will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Kartarpur.
MAJORITY IN INDIA APPRECIATING KARTARPUR SAHIB CORRIDOR
Khan said he was sure majority of the people in India would appreciate the steps taken by the two countries in building the Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
“The India I know—majority must be appreciating it (Kartarpur corridor),” Khan told reporters here.
The corridor is expected to be completed within six months. Thousands of Sikh devotees from India visit Pakistan every year to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
India had proposed the corridor to Pakistan around 20 years back.
He, however, 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,” Khan said, referring to the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for next year.
On punishing Jamat-ud Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, who is carrying a USD 10 million US bounty, Khan said, “There are UN sanctions against Hafiz Saeed. There is already a clampdown on him”.
WILL TAKE UP CASE OF INDIAN PRISONER
Khan assured that he will look into the case of a 33-year-old Indian prisoner, who has been languishing in a Pakistani jail after being arrested for illegally entering the country from Afghanistan, reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online. Mumbai resident Hamid Nehal Ansari was arrested in Pakistan in 2012. He is currently lodged in the Peshawar Central Prison after being sentenced by a military court to three years’ imprisonment for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card.
“I do not know about it…We will do our best,” he told the group of Indian journalists when asked about Ansari.
Pakistani security agencies accused Ansari of using a fake identity card in the name of “Hamza” and alleged that he entered Pakistan through Afghanistan without travel documents.
They charged him for “espionage” and “anti-Pakistan activities”. Ansari denied the charges in his petition to the Peshawar High Court.
Ansari had gone missing after he was taken into custody by Pakistani intelligence agencies and local police in Kohat in 2012 and finally in reply to a habeas corpus petition filed by his mother, Fauzia Ansari, the high court was informed that he was in custody of the Pakistan Army and was being tried by a military court.
He was convicted by the military court and jailed. His prison term is about to end, said officials.