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War cannot sort out issues between India, Pakistan: Imran Khan
Kashmir, an issue that the two countries should solve through dialogue, he says
Saturday December 7, 2013 9:37 PM, IANS

India and Pakistan need a strong leadership that tells people that war is not an option to sort out bilateral issues, Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan said here Saturday.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman said he has never believed in military solutions to problems.

Speaking at an interactive session at the HT Leadership Summit here, Imran Khan said Kashmir was an issue that the two countries should solve through dialogue.

He said the Taliban was not an ideological movement and those involved in the Mumbai terror attack should be brought to justice.

Khan also said the future of the Indian subcontinent lies in living as neighbours like countries in the European Union.

Imran Khan, whose party won the second largest number of votes in Pakistan's general elections earlier this year, said the younger generation in the two countries have not seen "horrors of partition" and "want to move on".

"What the two countries need is strong leadership that sells the idea that war was no option and make (people) understand the dividends of peace... we need to have leadership that tells war is no option," Imran Khan said.

He said cooperation between countries raises the living standards but admitted that relations between India and Pakistan cannot improve in the absence of trust.

Imran Khan said there were lobbies interested in fanning hatred in the two countries.

He said Kashmir was a problem and the two countries should solve it "as neighbours do across the table".

India and Pakistan should look for what was best for people of the state.

"Kashmir is about people of Kashmir. What is best for them, India and Pakistan should look for," he said.

Imran Khan said he came to know that India and Pakistan had come "very close" to settling the Kashmir issue, but the Mumbai terror attack affected the process.

Asked about his advocating peace in India and sharing stage with Mumbai terror attack accused Hafeez Saeed in Pakistan, Khan said: "If you are in politics, a party has to engage with everyone. Engagement is part of democracy. It does not mean I endorse their views about India."

Imran Khan said he has always opposed military settlement in his country's tribal areas and has been advocating dialogue for the past nine years.

There was a realisation now among the Pakistan leadership that the only way to peace was dialogue, he said.

He said there was "no Talibanisation in Pakistan" during the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the militants in Pakistan were created by military operations.

On a query, he hoped that a strong government will come to power in India after next year's general elections.

One reason for problems between India and Pakistan was lack of strong leadership, he said.

"If one side had it, it was not on the other side," he said.

Imran Khan said Pakistan's biggest problem was dealing with internal security and the situation was affecting the country's economy.

The situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US-led international forces next year will have a bearing on situation in Pakistan, he said.

"If it is positive, militancy will subside," he said.

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