Modi calls for South Asia peace in chat with Imran Khan

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New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday spoke to former Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has emerged as the largest party in the country’s general elections last week, and called for peace and development in the South Asian neighbourhood.

“Prime Minister spoke to Imran Khan, Chairperson of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and congratulated him for his party emerging as the largest political party in the National Assembly of Pakistan in the recently conducted general elections,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

“Prime Minister expressed hope that democracy will take deeper roots in Pakistan,” the statement said, adding Modi “also reiterated his vision of peace and development in the entire neighbourhood”.

Imran Khan has said that he will take oath as Prime Minister on August 11, the media reported on Monday.

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Although the PTI has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly in the July 25 polls, it is short of numbers to form its government independently.

To meet the required number of votes, the PTI leadership has reportedly approached the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, the Grand Democratic Alliance, PML-Quaid and the Balochistan Awami Party, as well as Independents.

Khan said on Thursday that his government would seek good relations with India and would like leaders of the two countries to sit across the table and resolve all disputes, including the “core issue” of Kashmir.

He said there has been a blame game between India and Pakistan with New Delhi holding Islamabad responsible for all its problems. And Pakistan is blaming India for what is happening in Balochistan, he said.

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“We are (back to) square one. We are ready to improve relationship with India. Now it is a one way blame on Pakistan.”

He said trade between India and Pakistan can be instrumental in eradicating poverty in the subcontinent which should be the focus of the two countries.

The 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit, scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November 2016, was cancelled after India, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh decided to skip the summit blaming Pakistan for not cooperating in combating cross-border terrorism in South Asia.

–IANS

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