Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan today acknowledged that terrorists in Pakistan carried out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. He went on to claim that he now has the Pakistani army's support for disarming them.
Speaking at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Tuesday, Mr Khan claimed that the Pakistani army and security forces are not supporting terrorist groups, and instead backed the option of a crackdown.
During his speech, Mr Khan went on to admit that the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed or JeM was operating against India. He went on to say that since some of the terrorists were trained and had experience of carrying out attacks in Kashmir, the Pakistan police cannot handle them, and hence the army's help is required.
Mr Khan said: "It was said normally that the security forces patronised the (terror) groups. We would not be disarming if the security forces were not standing behind us. You cannot disarm because the police is incapable of disarming these (terror) groups. They are trained, these people have experience of fighting in Afghanistan, some in Kashmir. The police cannot go after them, so it is the army that is helping us disarm all militant groups in our country."
"Whatever our policies from the day we arrived, on peace with India, they (the military) were behind (me), when I decided to release the Indian pilot who had been shot down by Pakistan, the army was right behind me," Mr Khan said.
"So today as we speak, you know, there is no difference between the policies of the Pakistan security forces and Pakistan's democratic government," he said.
Mr Khan further said that even before the Phulwama terror attack in which a convoy of Indian security forces were attacked and killed by a suicide bomber if the Jaish, Pakistan had decided to disarm "all militant groups" and all the political parties had backed it.
"Even before this (Pulwama attack) had happened, we had already decided that we will disarm all militant groups in Pakistan. And it is Pakistan's interest, I repeat, it is in our interest, because the country has had enough of militant groups," he added.
"Unfortunately because of one issue of Kashmir, whenever we have tried, whenever our relationship has started to move in the right direction with India, some incident happens - and that is all related to Kashmir - we go back to square one," Mr Khan said.
Mr Khan said that two of the three former foreign ministers who had joined his political party "told me that actually, they came pretty close in the time of General (Pervez) Musharraf and when (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee was the Prime Minister of India, apparently they came pretty close, there was some sort of convergence on a phased movement on Kashmir."