ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he thinks there may be a better chance of peace talks with India if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins the general election due to begin there on Thursday.
Khan said that if the next Indian government were led by the opposition Congress party, it might be too scared to seek a settlement with Pakistan over disputed Indian-controlled Kashmir, fearing a backlash from the right.
“Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Khan told a small group of foreign journalists in an interview.
This was despite the massive alienation that Muslims in Kashmir and Muslims, in general, were facing in Modi’s India, said Khan, who took office last August.
“I never thought I would see what is happening in India right now,” said the former international cricket star. “Muslim-ness is being attacked.”
Khan said Indian Muslims he knew who many years ago had been happy about their situation in India were now very worried by extreme Hindu nationalism.
He said Modi, like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was electioneering based on “fear and nationalist feeling”.