Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) during a campaign rally in Lahore, Pakistan. (Photographer: Asad Zaidi/Bloomberg)

Imran Khan Says India, Pakistan Should Meet for Peace Talks

(Bloomberg) -- Former cricket great Imran Khan said Pakistan and India should sit down for peace talks as the leader of the Movement for Justice party declared victory in his country’s election.

“If you take one step forward, we will take two steps forward. We need to move ahead,” said Khan in a televised speech from Islamabad. “Our core issue is Kashmir. We need to sit at a table and solve this problem.”

India and Pakistan have been in a constant state of tension since the partition of British India in 1947. Indian officials have previously said they would be open to peace talks if Pakistan would stop supporting militant groups that strike inside Indian territory. Pakistan denies supporting terrorists.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar declined to comment.

It is doubtful Khan can succeed with peace talks because his country’s powerful armed forces control key foreign policy issues, including Pakistan’s relations with India, said Manoj Joshi, a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation think-tank in New Delhi.

“These are boiler plate comments,” Joshi said. “The record is quite bleak. The Pakistan army runs that policy.”

The last formal peace process started after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif in Lahore in December 2015.

The two nations later called off bilateral talks after a series of attacks on Indian military bases, which India alleged were carried out by groups based in Pakistan.

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