Former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan said his views and misconceptions about India changed after he visited the neighbouring country to play cricket, Indian media reported.
In an interview with CNN-IBN, Khan said that he grew up “hating India” due to the bloodshed and violence associated with the partition.
“I grew up hating India because I grew up in Lahore and there were massacres of 1947, so much bloodshed and anger. But as I started touring India, I got such love and friendship there that all this disappeared,” Khan said.
“As time passed, I realised that there's so much we have in common. We have a similar history, there's so much in culture that's so similar compared to Western countries. Above all, there is so much the people of two countries (can) benefit from if we have a civilised relationship,” he added.
Talking about his policy related to the future relationship of the two countries, Khan said if his party Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) came to power in the next general election, he would do his utmost to improve relations between the two countries.
“I can give my best shot. I can fight to the last ball. We can only try. Success is sometimes not in our hands, it is in hands of the Almighty. So I can say that I will give it my best shot,” he said.
The PTI chairman said he prayed to god to allow him to work for better India-Pakistan relations “because I, for one, have received so much love in India”.
Khan said: “Absolutely, I have no prejudice against any country, and more specifically, India.”
Referring to Indian cricket team's tour of Pakistan in 2005-06, Imran said: “Id never seen two countries as close as that. So its very sad that Mumbai happens (and) we were back to square one”.