Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has defended Imran Khan for his comment on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, saying that the remark was ‘quoted out of context.’ Accusing Indian media for ‘sensationalism’, Qureshi reportedly said that Khan's reservations regarding the BJP leader "are on the record and everyone knows his (Khan's) opinion of Modi". According to a report in Pakistani daily Dawn, Qureshi made the clarification during a meeting of the Senate's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.
In an interview to foreign journalist, the Pakistani premier said that Modi, like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was contesting the elections based on “fear and nationalist feeling”. Khan had said that BJP’s promise to abrogate Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir was a major concern for Pakistan, even though he believed the pledge could also be a part of Modi’s electioneering.
Khan had said that Islamabad was fully determined to dismantle the terrorist groups operating from the Pakistani soil, including those active in Kashmir. He said that Kashmir was a political issue and that there was no military solution for the issue. The cricketer-turned-politician said that people of Kashmir suffered more when terrorists from the Pakistani side crossed the border as they led to the military crackdown. Khan’s comment sparked uproar on both sides of border. According to Dawn, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman slammed the Khan administration and said that, “You (Qureshi) said that India is getting ready for an adventure, (then) why did the prime minister say that dialogue can only take place if Modi wins the Indian elections."
In India also, Opposition Party chided Modi government over Khan’s remark. Yesterday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused PM Modi of having a secret understanding with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan after the latter endorsed a second term for his party BJP and asked whether the Pulwama attack was carried out to help Modi win the elections.
Another Opposition leader and Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy also targeted the incumbent prime minister and said that the truth was out now. "We lost 40 Jawans under @Narendramodi's watch but when the Opposition objected to politicising the army, he accused us of having supporters in Pak. But the truth is out now. @ImranKhanPTI supports Modi & says Pak prefers Modi as the Indian PM. So, who has the support of our enemies?” Kumaraswamy said.