Imran Khan, former prime minister of Pakistan, has advocated for the need for Pakistan and India to mend relations, but he has made it clear that such a relationship is not possible as long as the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power, DAWN reported.
The PTI chairman provided insight into the potential financial gains that could be realised if the two neighbours begin trading with one another in an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph on Monday.
"The benefits would be enormous," he said, but then contended that New Delhi's stance on Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) was the main impediment.
"I think it's possible but the BJP government is so hardline, they have a nationalistic stance on issues.
"It is frustrating as you have no chance (for a resolution) as they whip up these nationalistic feelings. And, once this genie of nationalism is out of the bottle it is very difficult to put it back in again," the former Pakistani premier told The Telegraph.
"All we know is that they should have a road map for the solution of Kashmir. People in Pakistan cannot accept that Kashmiris, who were given their right by the international community to choose their destiny through a plebiscite, have seen India steamroll this resolution."
Imran continued by saying that when India denied IIOJK sovereignty, Pakistan had to cool things up with the neighbouring nation.
In August 2019, Pakistan lowered its trade connections with India legally to Israel's level, with which Islamabad has no trade links at all. In response to India's decision to remove Article 370 of its constitution, which gave occupied Kashmir an unique status, the decision was made.
Trade with everyone
If re-elected as premier, the PTI leader said, he will work to build positive ties with Pakistan's neighbours, particularly Afghanistan, Iran, China, and the US, reports DAWN.
"We really need a relationship with both countries. What I do not want is another Cold War situation when we are in blocks like in the last Cold War we were allied with the United States," he said.
"The whole of Central Asia, Afghanistan, became out of our orbit," Imran stated, adding that his main concern for Pakistan was how to lift 120 million out of poverty.
"The best way to do that is if we can have a relationship with everyone, to trade with everyone, so we can help our population," he concluded.