Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday highlighted the need for improving ties with India but cheekily said that after his country’s victory against the latter in the T20 World Cup it was “not a good time” for such a conversation, according to a media report.
Addressing the Pakistan-Saudi Investment Forum in the Saudi capital Riyadh, Khan said that India and Pakistan had only one issue – the Kashmir issue – and urged for resolving it like “civilised” neighbours, Dawn online reported.
“We have excellent relations with China, but if somehow we improve our relationship with India – I know after last night’s thrashing by the Pakistan team in the cricket match, it’s not a very good time to talk about improving relations with India,” he said.
His remarks came a day after Pakistan defeated India for the first time in a World Cup fixture in Dubai.
Khan said that the two countries had only one issue – Kashmir, and urged for resolving it like “civilised” neighbours.
“It’s all about human rights and the rights of the people of Kashmir for self-determination as guaranteed by the United Nations Security Council 72 years ago.
“If that right is given to them, we have no other problems. The two countries can live as civilised neighbours […] just imagine the potential,” he told Saudi businessmen.
He said that India would gain access to Central Asia through Pakistan and in turn, the latter would gain access to two huge markets.
“This is what I want to impress upon the Saudi business community, that circumstances never remain the same. They always change,” said Khan, who is in Saudi Arabia on a three-day visit at the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by militant groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on an Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.