Do business with states, not individuals, Sherry tells Imran


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman on Wednesday criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement, seeking a better chance of peace talks with India if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins the general election.

Rehman took to Twitter and said, “It is unseemly for a sitting PM to state a preference for dialogue with a candidate from another country in the middle of their election.”

“Pakistan does business with states, not individuals. To say Modi will give us a better chance to talk is closing the door for others in India,” she added.

In an interview with a group of foreign journalists, the premier 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 Indian-occupied Kashmir, fearing a backlash from the right.

“Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” PM Imran said.

“I never thought I would see what is happening in India right now,” said the premier while adding that “Muslim-ness is being attacked” there.

PM Imran said Indian Muslims he knew who, many years ago had been happy about their situation in India, were now very worried by extreme Hindu nationalism.

He said Modi, like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was electioneering based on “fear and nationalist feeling”.

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

The premier appeared to offer India an olive branch, saying that Islamabad was determined to dismantle all militias from the country’s soil.

PM Imran said occupied Kashmir was a political struggle and there was no military solution.