Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a second term stating that his coming to power will help solve the Kashmir situation.
Speaking to a select group of foreign journalists in Islamabad, Khan, who heads the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, also reportedly said that a Congress government might be cowed down by right-wing groups if they go for a settlement on Kashmir.
“Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Khan told the foreign journalists in an interview on Tuesday.
Khan, however, added that just like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, PM Modi was electioneering based on “fear and nationalist feeling”. He further said that “Muslim-ness is being attacked” in India.
Khan’s remarks came just two days before the start of the first phase of polling in India’s Lok Sabha elections.
Reacting to Khan’s comments, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti took a jibe at the supporters of PM Modi and the BJP.
“Bhakts scratching their heads and at wits’ end wondering if they should praise Imran Khan or not,” the former Chief Minister of Jammu-Kashmir wrote on Twitter.
Bhakts scratching their heads & at wit ends wondering if they should praise Imran Khan or not. 😷 https://t.co/V4pv4u4vgn
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) April 10, 2019
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, too, took a swipe at Modi supporters.
“Just imagine what all the “Chowkidar” handles would be doing to @RahulGandhi & the Congress right now if Imran Khan had endorsed RG as PM in these elections? Who is the “tukde tukde” gang now?” Abdullah asked on Twitter.
Just imagine what all the “Chowkidar” handles would be doing to @RahulGandhi & the Congress right now if Imran Khan had endorsed RG as PM in these elections? Who is the “tukde tukde” gang now?
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) April 10, 2019
Relations between India and Pakistan hit a nadir following the 14 February Pulwama terror attack. An airstrike by India on a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on 26 February and an aerial engagement between PAF and IAF fighter aircraft on 27 February further deteriorated the situation.
Late in March, Khan said that he fears “another security incident” with India ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
“I’m still apprehensive before the (Indian) elections, I feel that something could happen,” The News International quoted Khan as telling the Financial Times.
“When Pulwama happened, I felt that Modi’s government used that to build this war hysteria,” he added, referring to suicide bombing which killed 40 CRPF troopers.
In March, PM Modi had sent a “customary” message to his Pakistani counterpart and the others heads of state on the eve of Pakistan’s National Day, highlighting the importance of a terror-free South Asia.
Greeting the people of the neighbouring country, the Prime Minister, in his message, said it was time for the people of the sub-continent to work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive and prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence.