Indo-Pak peace talks must continue, says Imran Khan


Cricket legend-turned-politician Imran Khan said the Indo-Pak peace process must continue at all costs, and should not be derailed by skirmishes.
“Our peace process has always been hindered. What happened (the LOC violations) is unfortunate but talks must continue uninterrupted. The peace dividend will be enormous. If the EU can have free trade, why can’t India and Pakistan freely trade with each other,” said Pakistan’s former cricket captain on the sidelines of the WEF meeting.
Khan said India-Pakistan talks were always hampered by vested interests.
“We require a strong, credible leadership with a public mandate, which the Pakistan government doesn’t have. In India, unfortunately, the leadership comes under public pressure from the right,” he said.
Khan said if he became the PM, he would initiate a broad-based dialogue with India on all issues including Kashmir.
“The solution to Kashmir should be found via dialogue. Pakistan should ensure there is no infiltration, while India should agree to withdraw troops from civilian areas,” he said.
Elections in Pakistan are likely to take place in May after a caretaker government takes over in March, and Khan said he was more confident than ever that his Tehreek-e-Insaf Party would win the polls.
“There are 40 million young people in Pakistan who will vote for the first time. They will vote against the status quo,” he said.
Khan said he would focus on dealing with the menace of terrorism.
He also called for normalisation of cricket ties between the two countries.
“India has used Mumbai to punish cricket. Instead of the recent ODI series, why didn’t we have a proper three test match series,” he said.