Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that the contentious issue between the two South Asian neighbours can never be resolved bilaterally. This came after Trump offered to be the “mediator” between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. The Indian government has denied Trump’s astonishing claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate.
“Bilaterally there will never be (a resolution of the Kashmir dispute),” Khan told Fox News, the favourite channel of president trump.
“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 on the table; US could play a big part. President Trump certainly can play a big part,” Khan said hours after he met Trump at his Oval Office for the first time at the White House.
“We are talking about 1.3 billion people on this earth. Imagine the dividends of peace if somehow that issue could be resolved,” Khan said when the Fox news anchor read out the Indian statement that it has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.
“Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally,” India said on Monday, refuting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi ever asked for US mediation on Kashmir.
Donald Trump offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue as he met Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House for the first time, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also asked him to help with the Kashmir issue. Trump said that he is ready to help, if the two countries ask.
"I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago…. And he actually said would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator? I said where? He said Kashmir. Because this has been going on for many-many years," Trump said in response to a question during his meeting with Prime Minister Khan in the Oval Office.
"If I can help, I would love to be a mediator," Trump added.
India has been maintaining that the Kashmir issue was a bilateral one and no third party has any role. Khan welcomed Trump's remarks and said if the US agrees, prayers of more than a billion people will be with him. He was accompanied by Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi among others.