Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said Premier Imran Khan’s statement regarding the outcome of general elections in India was taken out of context as “everyone knows” about Khan’s reservations regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a media report. During an interview to foreign journalists, Khan said that Islamabad and New Delhi have a better chance of peace talks and settling the Kashmir issue if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party BJP wins the general elections.
Khan’s remarks drew sharp reactions from opposition parties in Pakistan as well as in India. The foreign minister, addressing the Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday, accused the Indian media of “sensationalising everything”, the Dawn reported. He said the premier’s statement was “published out of context”. He said that Prime Minister Khan’s reservations regarding Modi “are on the record and everyone knows his (Khan’s) opinion of him”.
Qureshi said that only the Indian public will decide the winner and loser of the ongoing elections.
The Pakistani daily reported that Senators in Pakistan during a session of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday criticised Prime Minister Khan’s statement, saying Modi is a “danger to Pakistan”.
“You (Qureshi) said that India is getting ready for an adventure, (then) why did the prime minister say that dialogue can only take place if Modi wins the Indian elections?” asked PPP Senator Sherry Rehman. “A state has friendly relations with another state, not with a personality,” she was quoted as saying.
In the interview, Khan had said “Perhaps if the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)….wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached.” Khan’s statements were latched on to by the opposition in India to target Modi with the Congress party on Wednesday saying Pakistan has now “officially allied” with him and a vote for him would mean a vote for the neighbouring country.Referring to a dossier sent by India containing evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in the February 14 Pulwama attack, Qureshi dismissed it as a “joke”.
India on February 27 handed over to Pakistan the dossier on “specific details” of involvement of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in the Pulwama terror attack on CRPF as also the presence of camps of the UN-proscribed terror outfit in the country. The JeM had taken the responsibility of the terror strike in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.