LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday both Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed states and escalation of tension may threaten world peace, adding that Pakistan will never start a military conflict.
He said the two countries were sitting on a ticking bomb that warranted a joint strategy to resolve grave issues of poverty, joblessness and imminent threat of climate change rather than talking of war.
“Soon after assuming the office of prime minister, I decided to improve Pak-India bilateral relations and asserted if India takes one step forward, we will reach out with two steps. I spoke to Indian premier Narendra Modi and advised him that the 72-year long-standing issue of Kashmir could be resolved through dialogue,” he said and regretted that the response was condescending.
Speaking at the concluding session of the three-day International Sikh Convention at the Governor House, the prime minister said the turn of events during the past one year saw India asking for various conditions as if it was a super power and talking to a poor country, adding that war could not be a solution to any problem and those looking for this option were fools.
Imran urges Sikhs to raise their voice against oppression being committed against Muslims in India
Warning that wars lead to more crises and problems than resolving issues at hand, Mr Khan said those who tried the war option regretted for many years to come.
He condemned the actions of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sang) killing and inhumanely treating Muslims in India, saying no religion in the world allowed injustices and barbarianism against innocent people, including women and children. He said the RSS was leading India to a point of no return through its totalitarian and racist ideology.
Mr Khan also strongly condemned the 27-day-long curfew in occupied Kashmir to confine eight million Kashmiris in their homes without any food and medicines and said Pakistan was trying to convince India to stop oppression against Muslims in India and held Kashmir.
He urged the Sikh community to raise their voice against oppression and torture being committed against Muslims in India and held Kashmir. Welcoming the Sikhs to visit their holy places in Kartarpur and Nankana Sahib, the prime minister said the Pakistan government would fully facilitate the Sikh community and offer multiple visas in due course of time.
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar said the prime minister had promised to create one Pakistan instead of two, where minorities could enjoy equal citizen rights.
He said that 90 per cent work on the Kartarpur corridor project had been completed and it would be opened in the second week of November, adding that the Sikh community would be provided foolproof security during their visit to holy places.
Prime Minister Khan later met a Chinese delegation of industrialists and investors at the Governor House.
Earlier, he chaired a meeting at the Chief Minister Secretariat to review police reforms and law and order, establishment of zones to promote industrial development, climate change, environmental pollution, health reforms and Clean and Green Pakistan campaign.
Prime Minister Khan visited Air Headquarters in Islamabad, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations press release run by APP. He was received by Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan presented a guard of honour. He laid floral wreath at the Martyrs Monument.
The prime minister lauded PAF’s role in ensuring aerial defence of the country, specially the one displayed in February this year. He also appreciated PAF’s contributions to the war against terrorism, various nation building activities and projection of the country’s positive image.
Foreign Minister Shah Memood Qureshi, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal Khan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan accompanied the prime minister during the visit.
Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2019