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Special to the tribune
India, Pak must stop using RAW, ISI against each other: Imran
Shyam Bhatia in London

Imran Khan says India and Pakistan should stop using their intelligence agencies for settling scores against each other and base their future relations on civilised dialogue around a table.

The former Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician, who was speaking at the London School of Economics, criticised what he described as the “back-stabbing” role of the agencies, like India’s RAW and Pakistan’s ISI.

He called for a “stable relationship where all our problems are discussed politically, based around a dialogue around a table and with an end to the role of intelligence agencies. “Any issue about Kashmir should be dealt with on the table and not using militants. It hasn’t worked.”

Imran, visiting the UK to promote his autobiography, ‘A Personal History’, is currently ranked as one of Pakistan’s most popular politicians. His political party, Tehreeq-e-Insaaf, is also expected to attract massive new support when the country goes to the polls in 2012.

He attracted repeated applause from a packed audience at the LSE where he talked about bilateral relations with India, the abysmal state of Pakistani politics, terrorism and the war in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Asked about India-Pakistan relations, he responded, “As I’ve always maintained, you can’t change your neighbours. You have to live with them in a civilised manner.”

He added that Pakistan blames India for its troubles in Baluchistan and India blames Pakistan for the unrest in Kashmir. But asking his audience to look ahead, he went on: “The future is bright for South Asians.”

As far as Pakistan was concerned, Imran projected what he described as a “soft revolution” through the ballot box when elections are held next year. He claims that his own party, Tehreeq-e-Insaaf, is number one in the tribal areas and in the last four weeks alone has attracted 3,50,000 new members.

He anticipated “light at the end of the tunnel” because of increased political awareness than ever before, the existence of an independent Supreme Court and a vibrant, independent media.

Asked which Pakistani leader was his role model, he replied, “Jinnah. The reason is that Jinnah never compromised on his goals. He was selfless. He was dying of TB, but never gave up.”

If his party wins the next elections, Imran said one of his priorities would be to reduce the level of violence in the country. He painted a bleak picture of Pakistan where the economy has lost some $ 70 billion, terrorism is rampant on city streets and recent attacks on military bases, including army and navy headquarters, suggest deep internal divisions. He also explained that this has been the bloodiest year for Pakistan since independence with revenge attacks for every Pakistani army move against militants in the tribal areas.

In Imran’s words, Pakistan has become a polarised society with 30 Taliban groups active in the country.





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