BJP in power best bet for settlement of Kashmir issue: Imran Khan

BJP in power best bet for settlement of Kashmir issue: Imran Khan
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Srinagar: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he thinks there may be a better chance of peace talks with India if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins the general election due to begin on Thursday.

Khan said that if the next Indian government were led by the opposition Congress party, it might be too scared to seek a settlement with Pakistan over “disputed Kashmir”, fearing a backlash from the right, Reuters reported.

“Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Khan told a small group of foreign journalists in an interview.

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This was despite the massive alienation that Muslims in Kashmir and Muslims in general were facing in Modi’s India, said Khan, who took office last August.

The BJP’s pledge this week to propose stripping decades-old special rights from the people of Jammu and Kashmir, which prevent outsiders from buying property in the state, was a major concern, though it could also be electioneering, Khan said.

Khan did appear to offer India an olive branch, saying that Islamabad was determined to dismantle all Pakistan-based militias in the country, and that the government had full support from Pakistan’s powerful army for the programme. Those to be dismantled include groups involved in Kashmir.

Khan said Kashmir was a political struggle and there was no military solution.