'I am not a villain': Imran Khan tells India, asks New Delhi to end Kashmir stalemate with constructive dialogue

'Pakistan is ready to talk with India on Kashmir issue,' said Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, while slamming the Indian media for portraying him as a 'villain in a Bollywood film' in the run-up to the general elections in Pakistan.

FP Staff July 26, 2018 18:45:59 IST
'I am not a villain': Imran Khan tells India, asks New Delhi to end Kashmir stalemate with constructive dialogue

"Pakistan is ready to talk with India on Kashmir issue," said Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, while slamming the Indian media for portraying him as a "villain in a Bollywood film" in the run-up to the general elections in Pakistan.

I am not a villain Imran Khan tells India asks New Delhi to end Kashmir stalemate with constructive dialogue

File photo of PTI chief Imran Khan. Reuters

"Kashmir remains our biggest contention. The human rights violations that have taken place over 30 years is significant and the people of Kashmir have suffered massively. The leadership of Pakistan and India now need to come to the table to resolve this. We should not indulge in blame-game," said Khan, while making references to India's alleged interference in Balochistan.

Addressing the media for the first time as his party seemed set to become the largest party, Khan said, "If the Indian leadership takes one step towards Pakistan, we are ready to take two steps towards India. Right now it is one-sided where India is constantly just blaming us. We must resolve the main issue (Kashmir) with dialogue."

Though the results are yet to be declared officially, PTI is expected to win over 100 seats while Nawaz Sharif's PML-N is likely to take 63 seats emerging as the second largest party in the country.

Counting of votes are still underway for the general election amid allegations of poll-rigging and manipulation (both PTI and the Election Commission of Pakistan have rejected these claims, terming the elections free and fair).

In the run-up to the election, in India, Khan was projected as a Pakistani leader with strong anti-India sentiments with some TV channels dubbing him as the "axis of anti-India" sentiment in Pakistan. His party's good performance was often projected as bad news for both Pakistan and India, especially because of the cricketer-turned politician's alleged proximity to the military.

Reacting to the negative coverage, Imran said, "In the last few days, Indian media portrayed me as some villain in a Bollywood film. I want to tell you, I am one Pakistani who has the largest number of acquaintances in India largely due to my career as a cricketer."

On Thursday, Khan also rued the checkered history between the neighbouring countries and said that India and Pakistan should work towards improving their trade relations in order to improve their ties and to improve the economy of the sub-continent. "The more the volume of trade between the two countries, the better will be the relations," he said.

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