Prime Minister Narendra Modi was briefed this evening by the home minister after his return…
NEW DELHI: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Sunday said he had raised with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “plight of minorities in India” during his recent visit besides touching upon the Kashmir issue and cricket.
The 63-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief said the impact of the ‘plight’ was also felt in Pakistan, stressing that the Indian leadership give a clear message to end discrimination against minorities. Rejecting the ruling PML-N’s criticism that he did not raise Kashmir with Modi, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief said: “I had told the Indian prime minister that at one point of time, Pakistan and India had reached very close to resolving the Kashmir issue.
“The issue can be resolved through talks,” he told reporters here on his return from the two-day visit as he also called for improving bilateral trade ties. Underlining that the only way forward and address poverty in both countries lies in resolving their outstanding issues through talks, Imran said: “There are people on both sides who continue hindering the peace process for their vested interests.” Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid had said Imran discussed “trivial matters” with Modi and ignored the Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachin issues.
“Imran Khan should have talked with the Indian premier on all important issues but he ended up just talking about cricket. His visit to India is that of a sportsman and not of a politician,” Rashid had said. Responding to the allegations, Imran said: “I had also raised the issue of plight of minorities in India and told Mr Modi that its impact was also felt in Pakistan and stressed that the Indian leadership should give a clear message to end discrimination against minorities.”
His remarks hinted at the cancellation of renowned Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in October due to protests by Shiv Sainiks.
Imran said he also argued that Pakistan and India should continue playing cricket because it brought peoples on both sides closer and that would eventually help reduce tension between the two neighbours. “If there will be no contact between the people of both sides, how will they come closer?” he wondered.
Imran said there is no other option left for Pakistan and India but to resolve disputes through talks. “The leaders of both countries should have bigger vision and earn dividends from peaceful and cordial relations for the betterment of their peoples. There is no solution in blaming each other for terrorism acts (in the two countries).