- Imran Khan's PTI emerges as single-largest party in Pakistan elections
- In address to Pakistan, Khan says he wants to improve ties with India
- Says willing to reciprocate moves, focus on trade through dialogue
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, whose party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI has emerged as the single largest party, today indicated that good relations with India, especially one that focuses on trade, is a key goal for Pakistan, with just one stumbling block -- Kashmir. "I really want to fix our ties, you take one step forward, we will take two," he said in a presidential-style address from Islamabad this evening even before the results of yesterday's elections were announced.
The 65-year-old former captain of Pakistan cricket team said he was a "little disappointed" the way Indian media has portrayed him "like a Bollywood villain... as though all will be bad if I come to power".
"I have widely travelled in India because of cricket and I want good relations with India," he said in a half-hour address as the opposition cried foul, accusing his party of winning through blatant rigging and army support.
Elaborating on his foreign policy and his views of relations with India towards the end of his address, Mr Khan said the two countries also need to have a dialogue on Kashmir.
"The biggest dispute between us is about Kashmir. We need to talk about Kashmir... We're still on Square 1. India sees Baluchistan, we see Kashmir... this blame game has to stop. We are ready to take two steps forward if you take one," he said."The situation in Kashmir, the human rights violations, deploying army there... Kashmiris have suffered. The leadership has to find a way out," he added.
There has been concerns in India about the outcome of the elections in Pakistan. It has been pointed out that a hardline party at the helm will affect the security of the people in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the rest of India in view of Pakistan's tacit support to terror.
Mr Khan, who came to power after what he called 22 years of struggle, pitched for development, stability and improvement of Pakistan's economy. On that front, he underscored the importance of trade ties with India. "The number one priority of any government should be trade ties with India," he said.
The PTI has won 76 of the 272 seats in Pakistan's national assembly and is leading in 43. Mr Khan's closest rival, jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or PML-N has won 43 seats and is leading in 20. A party needs 137 seats for a majority.