WASHINGTON: Amid a political storm over US President Donald Trump’s claim for mediation in the Kashmir issue, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has claimed that New Delhi and Islamabad were once ”pretty close” to resolving the Kashmir issue, in phases, during the regime of then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and military ruler General Pervez Musharraf.
“They came pretty close on resolving the Kashmir issue – phased movement… referendum during the time of Vajpayee,” Pakistan PM Imran Khan said in response to a question during his appearance at the US Institute of Peace, a US-Congress funded think-tank.
Khan, however, refrained from elaborating on the solution, saying it is a sensitive issue and insisted that Kashmir is the “bone of contention” between India and Pakistan.
Imran Khan said Pakistan’s “top priority is to build good relationships with our neighbours” apart from putting an end to corruption and building strong institutions. “We must have stability in our region,” he said. He said that after coming to power, he first tried to reach out to India.
“India is a country which we’ve had a turbulent relationship with. Unfortunately, because of one issue of Kashmir, whenever, we have tried, whenever relationship has started to move in the right direction with India, some incident happens and that’s all related to Kashmir, and we go back to square one,” he said.