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Islamabad:

Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Wednesday, said he believes there would be better chances of peace talks between India and Pakistan if PM Narendra Modi wins the general election. He also 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 Kashmir, fearing a backlash from the right. It was in an interview he made the remarks to a group of foreign journalists at Islamabad.

The cricketer-turned-politician said Muslims in Kashmir and Muslims, in general, were facing massive alienation in Modi’s India. “Muslim-ness is being attacked. I never thought I would see what is happening in India right now,” Khan said. He also added that the Indian Muslims he knew who many years ago had been happy about their situation in India were now very worried by extreme Hindu nationalism. Comparing Modi with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Khan said both leaders were electioneering based on “fear and nationalist feeling”.

Khan added that the BJP’s promise to repeal Article 35A of the Constitution, which ensures special land rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, was a major concern, though it could also be electioneering. The BJP had released its manifesto on Monday, reiterating its commitment to repeal Article 370, which gives Jammu and Kashmir a special status, and Article 35A, which allows the state’s legislature to define permanent residents.

But at the same time, hours later the statement of Imran Khan, reactions poured in from corners of Congress. Aravind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Jammu and Kashmir politicians Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti seized the chance to get back at the PM and the ruling party.

“Pakistan has officially allied with Modi. A vote for Modi is a vote for Pakistan. Modi-Ji, first Nawaz Sharif, now Imran Khan is your friend. The secret is out,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Sing Surjewala tweeted.

“Why does Pakistan want Modi-Ji to win? PM Modi, please tell the nation how deep your relationship is with Pakistan. All Indians should know that if PM Modi wins, then crackers will be burst in Pakistan,” tweeted AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal.

Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir CM and vice-president of the National Conference (NC), Omar Abdullah said that Imran Khan has ensured victory for Narendra Modi. “So much for Modi Sahib telling the country, only Pakistan and its sympathisers want BJP to lose”. He tweeted.

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