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As India continuously accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism across its borders, Pakistan Defence Minister, Khawaja Asif has expressed hopes for betterment in bilateral ties with India after the country comes out of its election phase poised to be held from April 19 and ending in June, Geo News reported.
The relations between Pakistan and India have been depleting for the past many years owing to Pakistan sponsoring terrorism, allegedly providing shelters to India’s declared terrorists and its illegal occupation of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Most recently, India abstained from the adoption of a resolution on ‘Measures to Combat Islamophobia’ introduced by the Pakistan envoy at the UNGA.

“Our relations with India could be improved after elections there,” the defence minister expressed his views while speaking to reporters outside the Parliament House in Islamabad, adding that Pakistan and India ties have its “own background”.

As the country that borders China, India, Afghanistan, and Iran witnessed tensions with other neighbours, except for China, following Pakistan’s cross-border attacks in Iran and rising tensions with Afghanistan, Asif is hopeful for a turn of event in terms of improvement of bilateral ties with New Delhi after the neighbour completes its upcoming election phase, Geo News reported.

The Minister also spoke on Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan and said that he personally visited Taliban-ruled country and asked the government to take effective steps to stop terrorism.

The defence minister said that he, along with a high-level delegation, visited Afghanistan to request the Taliban government there to take effective steps to stop terrorism. However, the solution proposed by Kabul was not practically possible, he added.

“Our options are now reducing day-by-day for the neighbour due to fluctuation in the Afghan interim government’s attitude towards Pakistan,” Asif said. He added that Pakistan has always stood beside Afghanistan, rendered sacrifices for them, and even fought wars with them, Geo News reported.

He stressed the treatment of Pak-Afghan border like other borders around the globe which restricts cross-border movement to visa holders under international laws.

He was of the view that the movement of people from Afghanistan without visas allows terrorists to enter Pakistan.

He also signalled on behalf of the federal government taking concrete steps in the coming days to the complete elimination of terrorism, Geo News reported.

Elaborating on the ongoing probe into the attack on Chinese nationals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Asif said that joint investigation teams of Pakistan and China found some leads, and they would soon dig up all facts regarding the terrorist attack.

According to the Geo News report, five Chinese citizens, including a woman, and a Pakistani driver were killed when their vehicle was attacked in Shangla’s Besham city as a suicide bomber crashed his explosives-laden vehicle into the car carrying the victims on March 26.

To a question, the minister replied that Islamabad is successfully fulfilling targets of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, the government would be able to provide relief to the nation after at least 1.5 years.

He detailed that cases related to tax recovery worth PKR 2,700 are currently pending, whereas, billions of rupees are being drained from the national exchequer due to electricity and gas theft. He, however, was optimistic of providing relief to the masses within the next six months by taking effective moves.

To another question regarding restrictions on the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, Asif replied that the United States should give an alternative solution to fulfil the energy needs of the country. He added that Washington must consider the weak economic situation of Islamabad as the country reserves the right to purchase gas at low prices from its neighbour.