Unfortunate that Indian media tried to politicise Kartarpur border opening: PM Khan

Published December 6, 2018
"We have religious sites that are important for Hindus and Buddhists, we should open them up and facilitate the people." — DawnNewsTV
"We have religious sites that are important for Hindus and Buddhists, we should open them up and facilitate the people." — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Imran Khan, while addressing the federal cabinet on Thursday, termed it unfortunate that Indian media has given Pakistan's positive gesture of opening the Kartarpur border a "political colour".

"Unfortunately the Indian media has given Kartarpur [border opening] a political colour, as if we did this to gain some sort of political mileage [...] This is not true. We did it because it is part of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's manifesto," the prime minister said

"We have religious sites that are important for Hindus and Buddhists; we should open them up and facilitate the people," he added.

"The Sikh community has responded very positively to the effort [to open the Kartarpur border]. It is to them what Madinah is to us Muslims. We hope that India will also respond positively in return," Prime Minister Khan said.

Foreign policy matters

In reference to Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad's meeting with the prime minister yesterday, the cabinet was told that "Pakistan's role in the region is now being recognised".

"Pakistan has always played an active role to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and it is a matter of great satisfaction that the United States has recognised Islamabad's contribution to this effect," the prime minister was reported as saying.

Touching upon Pakistan's offer to act as mediator in the Yemen conflict, Prime Minister Khan said, "We talked to Saudi Arabia and Iran on the matter, Iran's foreign minister gave us the go-ahead to try and see what could be done. We will try our best in this regard as well."

Deflecting criticism

The prime minister also came to his ministers' defence, saying that: "The finance ministry, planning and commerce ministries should be lauded for the efforts they have made under great pressure."

The prime minister added that despite difficulties and challenges, various multinational companies have pledged to invest in Pakistan.

"Let me name a few of the companies that are planning to invest here. Suzuki's chairman promised an investment worth $450 million, The Coca-Cola Company will invest $500m and PepsiCo will invest $400m," the prime minister said.

"Exxon — which is the largest gas drilling company in the world — has come back to Pakistan after 27 years. They are immediately investing $200m in the country and they are saying that by next summer, they expect to know exactly how many off-shore gas reserves we have," he added.

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