Vowing to take up what he called his “worries” about “Hindu supremacy” in India and the situation in Kashmir post-revocation of Article 370 with leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, including U.S. President Donald Trump, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said here that he wanted a “reset in ties” with India, but had been rebuffed.
In his first reaction to the mega-rally by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Trump on Sunday, Mr. Khan said the Modi government was “carrying out an RSS agenda” against Pakistan.
“After the Pulwama attack, I had said [to the Indian government], please give us any indication a Pakistani was involved. India bombed us instead [Balakot strikes],” Mr. Khan said at the Council of Foreign Relations, speaking to a crowd of U.S. analysts and academics, making a particular mention of India’s efforts to blacklist Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force’s plenary this November as proof of what he called the “agenda”.
Links to terrorism
While he didn’t react directly to PM Modi’s comments on Pakistan’s links to terrorism in the 9/11 attacks and 26/11 attacks, Mr. Khan said he disagreed with President Trump’s assertion that India and the U.S. would together combat “radical Islamic terrorism”. “There is only one Islam, not moderate or radical,” he said, indicating that he had watched the rally of Indian-Americans at Houston’s NRG centre.
Mr. Khan made the comments a few hours before his bilateral meeting with President Trump in New York, his first since the talks with Taliban were called off. He admitted that he had only learned of the U.S. decision to cancel a possible deal with the Taliban only through Mr. Trump’s tweet, and hoped the talks could be restarted. Both PM Modi and PM Khan will address the UN General Assembly on Friday.
Significantly, the Pakistani Prime Minister did not deny the presence of terrorists in Pakistan, and even suggested that Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. forces in Abbottabad in 2011, had links with members of the Pakistan Army.
“I will say, the Pakistan Army trained al-Qaeda before 9/11, so there were always going to be links. Many in the Army didn’t agree with the policy change post 9/11, when the same people we had trained were called terrorists,” Mr. Khan said, referring to Pakistan’s decision to join forces with the U.S. for the war in Afghanistan as a “major blunder”.
Mr. Khan also said that he was willing to India’s to address India’s concerns about terrorism, if the government had been willing to restart talks, and suggested that the upcoming Kartarpur corridor was his effort to “open up ties for peace with neighbours”.
‘Lack of trust’
“When PM Modi asked me about terrorism, I said I assure you we will dismantle the terror networks. The problem is lack of trust,” Mr. Khan told the audience, but did not explain why terror groups, including Lashkar e Toiba and Jaish e Mohammad, continue to exist in the country.
When chided by moderator and former American diplomat Richard Haas about his “brutal” and unbecoming words about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, whom he has compared to Nazis, Mr. Khan repeated his accusations against the government, saying that he was “worried” by “Hindu supremacy”, which he said was the ideology that “assassinated Mahatma Gandhi”.