What Does Pak PM-in-Waiting Imran Khan Think of India?
“Initially, I had to give a message to Nawaz Sharif, but tomorrow I will send a message to Narendra Modi too. I will show Nawaz Sharif how to respond to Modi,” Imran Khan had said after India carried out surgical strikes on Pakistan in September 2016.
The star cricketer-turned-politician, who has managed to sweep the Pakistan elections and now looks poised to take over as prime minister, has been consistently vocal about his stance on India.
On Ties With India
In a 2011 interview with CNN-IBN, Khan had said that he grew up hating India but he had come to see, over time, that a “civilised relationship” would benefit both nations.
“I grew up hating India because I grew up in Lahore and there were massacres of 1947, so much bloodshed and anger. But as I started touring India, I got such love and friendship there that all this disappeared,” he told the channel.
As time passed, I realised that there’s so much we have in common. We have a similar history, there’s so much in culture that’s so similar compared to Western countries. Above all, there is so much the people of two countries (can) benefit from if we have a civilised relationship.Imran Khan
At the time, he had also vowed to improve ties with India if voted to power, saying “I have no prejudice against any country, and more specifically, India”.
On Modi-Sharif Ties
Besides accusing Modi of genocide in Gujarat to calling India out for the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairperson has, over the years, repeatedly accused ousted Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif of being India’s stooge.
On 24 July, a day before Pakistan went to polls, he said:
India’s aim is to discredit Pakistan and its security forces. Nawaz Sharif helps them with that. That is why the Indian Army is able to attack Pakistan over and over again and that is why the Indian media loves Sharif.Imran Khan
On Surgical Strikes
After the surgical strikes, Khan told a rally in Pakistan’s Raiwind: “Even if there is a tiny blast in India, they point fingers towards Pakistan without any evidence or probe”. “Not all Pakistanis are as cowardly as Nawaz Sharif,” he said.
On Jammu and Kashmir, he had said:
There is no bigger lie than Pakistan inciting unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. It’s been 26 years the Indian Army is in Kashmir and the people there are fed up. Human rights are being violated and people are being sacrificed.Imran Khan at Raiwind in 2016
(With inputs from Dawn, Deccan Chronicle and Neo TV)