Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday told an American news outlet that there will never be a resolution to the Kashmir issue bilaterally and asserted that the US and President Trump can play a "big part" in mediation.
"Bilaterally there will never be (a resolution of the Kashmir issue)," he told Fox News after his meeting with US President Donald Trump during which Mr Trump had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan. Donald Trump's claim has been strongly refuted by India.
"There was one point when there was General (Pervez) Musharraf and Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee of India when we did get close to the resolution of the Kashmiri issue. But since then, we are poles apart and I really feel that India should come to the table. The US could play a big part. President Trump certainly can play a big part," he added.
"We are talking about 1.3 billion people on this earth. Imagine the dividends of peace if somehow that issue could be resolved," Imran Khan further told the Fox News host.
The Pakistani Prime Minister was also asked if they would give up their nuclear weapons if India did so, to which he replied, "Yes because nuclear war is not an option. Between Pakistan and India, the idea of nuclear war is actually self-destruction because we have two-and-a-half thousand-mile border."
He also made a reference to the standoff between India and Pakistan following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, the responsibility of which was claimed by Pak-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). India undertook airstrikes which targeted terror camps in Pakistan's Balakot after the incident, following which Pakistan violated India's airspace. A dogfight ensued leading to India shooting down a Pakistani F-16.
"I think there's a realisation in the subcontinent that and there was some incident happened last February and we again had tensions at the border...So, there's a realisation and that's why I asked, President Trump that if he could play his role, the US as the most powerful country in the world, the only country that could mediate between Pakistan and India and resolve the only issue is Kashmir," Mr Khan said.
Imran Khan also claimed that Kashmir is the only reason why India and Pakistan "have not been able to live like "civilised neighbours" since the last 70 years.