Islamabad: Pakistan Punjab's caretaker Chief Minister Najam Sethi has said that Pakistan no longer considers India to be an existential threat. Speaking to CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar, Sethi said that India needs to realise that. Following is an excerpt from the interview:
Karan Thapar: The second aspect of the electoral campaign that is underway in Pakistan that is being picked up by India is the fact that Kashmir as an issue is actually missing. Is that because the subject has diminished in importance or because there are many other domestic issues that today are much more important and immediate?
Najam Sethi: Well you know Kashmir as an issue was missing in 2008 elections as well, let me say that. The reason for that is the peace process had kicked off first under Nawaz Sharif and then udner General Musharraf after he realised the error of his earlier ways which led to Kargil. So therefore, Kashmir is no longer an issue in that sense between India and Pakistan. It never was an election issue in the last election and it's not an election issue now.
Najam Sethi also said that Kashmir is not a stumbling block to relations between India and Pakistan.
Karan Thapar: So is that a sign that perhaps India should note that Pakistan is not obsessed with Kashmir in the way India previously thought about it?
Najam Sethi: I will put it for you even more strongly. Pakistanis are more than ever before keen on peace with India. For the first time an unprecedented thing has happened, that is all the political parties are on the same page.
Karan Thapar: That's a very important thing you saud that the entire political spectrum in Pakistan from the liberal left to the religious right in one unison voice is for peace with India and won't allow Kashmir to be a stumbling block?
Najam Sethi: I'll go further. I'll say this to you and to the Indian people that the Pakistani Army no longer considers India to be an existential threat. All armies have to protect borders. All armies have to be worried about threats. But I think the paradigm is changing in this country and the sooner the people of India and Indian establishment come to understand what is happening in this country, the better it will be for the peace process.