Govt still hopeful New Delhi's response will change after elections, PM tells Indian media
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an interaction with the representatives of Indian media at PM Office on Thursday, said he had tried to reach out to New Delhi since the day he assumed office but received a "bad response" after which he "decided to wait until after the Indian election for a gesture from their side", The Hindu reported.
The "bad response" referred to here is when a meeting scheduled between the foreign ministers of the two countries along the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was called off by New Delhi citing "unclean intentions".
On the day the PTI released a performance report of its 100 days, the premier stressed on the country's commitment to and desire for peace, saying it was not in Pakistan's interest to let its soil be used for terrorism, according to The Indian Express.
“It is not in our interest to allow the use of Pakistan’s territory for terror outside. People in Pakistan want peace with India. The mindset of people here has changed,” the publication reported Prime Minister Khan as saying.
His remarks come just a day following Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj's refusal to come to the table for dialogue between the two countries at the Saarc platform.
She had brushed off any possibility of improvement in relations between India and Pakistan, despite the opening of the Kartarpur crossing. "Until and unless Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, there will be no dialogue and we will not participate in Saarc
[conference]," Swaraj had asserted.
To a question put forth by India Today TV
on what actions his government was taking with respect to the chief of thebanned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) outfit
, Hafiz Saeed, considered by India to be the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the premier reminded them that there was a legal case against him in Pakistan.
According to NDTV
, he said: "There are UN sanctions against Hafiz Saeed. There is already a clampdown on the Jamaatud Dawa chief. These are the issues we have inherited". Khan mentioned that his government "cannot be held responsible for the past".
When asked whether there would be a "grand gesture" by Pakistan in dealing with Hafiz Saeed or gangster Dawood Ibrahim, Prime Minister Khan said that such gestures can be made "only up to a certain point" following which reciprocity must be demonstrated.
"India must reciprocate... we understand till your elections in 6 months but after that, we need a response," India Today TV quoted him as having asserted.
The premier had made a strong case for the two countries to make tangible efforts to improve relations following the Kartarpur foundation stone laying ceremony held a day earlier.
"I am saying today, that our political leaders, our army, and all other institutions are all on one page. We wish to move forward, we want a civilised relationship. We have just one problem, Kashmir. If a man can walk on the moon, what problems are there that we cannot resolve?" he asked.
"If India takes one step forward, Pakistan will take two steps forward in friendship," Khan had promised.