Kashmir Be Recognised As Political Issue: Imran

Kashmir Be Recognised As Political Issue: Imran

15 March 2012
The Dawn


Islamabad: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday that Kashmir must be recognised as a political issue and resolved at the negotiating table. Talking to Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal who had called on him at the party secretariat, Mr Khan stressed the need for dialogue on the Kashmir issue and said a roadmap would help disarm militants and reduce Indian military presence in occupied Kashmir. He said his party would bring a new outlook to relations with India after coming to power. Former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri, Dr Shireen Mazari and Ahmad Jawad were present on the occasion. “We need a bold leadership which can convince people about the gains by exploring full potential of the subcontinent. We have to sell the idea of dividends of peace and to get out of the past,” Mr Khan said while referring to Dr Mazari’s idea of civil nuclear cooperation between Pakistan and India. The Indian high commissioner said the Mumbai attack was a major setback for relations between the two countries. The PTI chief alleged that the present government in Pakistan was a hurdle in moving forward in relations with India. Mr Sabharwal said trade was now an agenda of the two countries, adding that there were three areas of concern for Pakistan - customs, lab testing and absence of a mechanism for addressing traders’ grievances - while India was addressing the issue of market access. Imran Khan said he was convinced that Pakistan could not survive with the present tax-to-GDP ratio. “We need to raise this, cut our expenditure and resolve energy crisis.” Meanwhile, the PTI chairman refused to participate as a keynote speaker in the India Today Conclave being held in New Delhi after he was informed that controversial figure Salman Rushdie would also address it. He conveyed his regrets to the organisers and categorically said that he could not even think of participating in any programme which included Salman Rushdie who, according to Mr Khan, had caused immeasurable hurt to Muslims across the globe.