After his maiden visit to the US as the Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan on Monday said that the contentious issues between New Delhi and Islamabad “can never be resolved bilaterally”.
Imran Khan’s statement came hours after Donald Trump offered to be the “mediator” between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue as the two leaders met at the White House where they discussed a host of issues, including the Afghan peace process.
During a press conference with Imran Khan, Trump had on Monday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “asked him to mediate in the dispute with Pakistan”.
The Indian government has rejected Trump’s astonishing claim.
Speaking to reporters before his meeting in the White House with Khan, Trump asserted that during his meeting with Modi in Osaka, “We talked about the subject, (and) he actually said, ‘Would you like to mediate or arbitrate?’ I said, ‘Where,?’ (and he said) ‘Kashmir’.”
“There was one point when there was General (Pervez) Musharraf and Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee of India when we did get close to the resolution of the Kashmiri issue. But since then we are poles apart and I really feel that India should come on the table; the US could play a big part. President Trump certainly can play a big part,” Imran Khan said hours after he met Donald Trump at the Oval Office.
On being asked about India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally by Fox news, Imran Khan said, “We are talking about 1.3 billion people on this earth. Imagine the dividends of peace if somehow that issue could be resolved”.
While responding to another question, Imran Khan said Pakistan will give up its nuclear weapons if India did so. “Yes, because nuclear war is not an option. Between Pakistan and India, the idea of nuclear war is actually self-destruction because we have two-and-a-half thousand-mile border.”
Khan further said, “I think there’s a realisation in the subcontinent that and if there was some incident happened last February and we again had tensions at the border… So, there’s a realisation and that’s why I asked, President Trump that if he could play his role, the US as the most powerful country in the world, the only country that could mediate between Pakistan and India and resolve the only issue is Kashmir”.
“The only reason for 70 years that we have not been able to live like civilised neighbours is because of Kashmir,” Imran Khan added.
Earlier, there were reports that Imran Khan would seek US President Donald Trump’s help to resolve the longstanding Kashmir issue with India.
This was Khan’s maiden visit to the US since assuming power following the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s victory in the 2018 general elections.