I was sincere about peace with Pak, but do not know who...

I was sincere about peace with Pak, but do not know who runs that country: PM


I was sincere about peace with Pak, but do not know who runs that country: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that he had made friendly gestures to both the incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan and one former PM Nawaz Sharif but the biggest problem in dealing with Islamabad is that nobody knows who is running that country.

“The biggest problem with Pakistan is that nobody knows who is running that country and whom we should talk to,” said the Prime Minister in a freewheeling interview to India TV Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma in a packed audience of nearly 2,500 people at Jahawarlal Nehru Stadium here.

The Prime Minister’s remark comes on the backdrop of the Pakistan Prime Minister’s letter to Mr Modi, in which he had written that “resumption of bilateral dialogue is important to resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.”

Mr Modi said: “When Imran Khan became PM, we talked over phone. I told him that both the countries have fought several wars, and every time Pakistan was defeated. Both of us as Prime Ministers should work towards eradication of poverty in the next five years.

“Imran Khan replied, ‘I am the son of a Pathan, I am speaking the truth. I want to say, let us start a new beginning.’ This was what we discussed (before Pulwama).’

Mr Modi said Pakistan has a problem and leaders of several countries think the same and don’t know who runs the country.

“I think Pakistan has a problem. It is not my experience alone. It is the experience of many other countries. I have spoken to several statesmen from the US, China, Russia, and leaders from the Gulf and Arab countries. One thing emerged. I was told, to whom will you talk to? With the Army? With ISI? With an elected body? They said, we ourselves don’t know who runs that country,’ he said adding that this is the biggest problem and ‘let Pakistan resolve its problem first.”

Mr Modi said he had thought that Mr Nawaz Sharif would be a “genuine person” in dealing with Indo-Pak issues and it was due to this that he made an unplanned visit to Lahore.

“I went to Lahore out of ‘sad-ichha’ (goodwill) because he (Sharif) had come to my swearing-in. I thought, he is a genuine person, he can do something, and I was to make a courtesy call only. When we reached there, he said, we would have to go in their helicopter to their home. Normally the head of a government never used the aircraft of another head of government. One has to think 50 times. I said, chalo yaar.

‘We sat in the chopper and went to his home, met his family members, had tea. We had nice, ‘goody goody’ talks. Nothing serious. But this sudden visit sent a message across Pakistan. That India does not bear ill-will towards Pakistan. This was the biggest success of my hour long visit.’

The common man in Pakistan was impressed, Mr Modi said.

‘They were being fed lies about India. The message went to them that India desires the well being of the people of Pakistan. We returned, and within a week, Pathankot (attack) happened,’ he said.