India's Modi and Pakistan's Khan discuss regional peace in post-election call

Hugh Fox
July 31, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan on Monday, days after his party emerged the single-largest in the country's National Assembly.

In the phone call, Modi "reiterated his vision of peace and development in the entire neighborhood", according to a statement by India's Ministry of External Affairs.

A picture making rounds on social media shows Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan meeting one of the independent candidates who joined his party alongside senior aide Jehangir Khan Tareen.

PTI has emerged the victor of parliamentary elections with 116 seats, with the previous ruling party Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) obtaining just 64 seats.

In NA-53 constituency, Mr. Khan defeated former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi by receiving 92,891 votes while the PML-N leader managed a mere 44,314 votes.

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Pakistan's likely new prime minister Imran Khan opened coalition talks with at least one smaller party and independent politicians on Saturday, a spokesman said, after the announcement of full results of an election disputed by rivals.

The former World Cup winning cricketer, 65, was announced the victor of Pakistan's general election on Friday despite a delayed vote count provoking accusations of rigging.

Haque said that he hoped the president would call an assembly session and Khan would take oath as premier before the Independence day.

The PTI is now negotiating with smaller parties, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Grand Democratic Alliance and independents to form a majority group among the 272-elected seats in the lower chamber of parliament, he said.

The PTI leader also said that the chief minister of Punjab will be the decision of Imran Khan.

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Khan, during a speech declaring victory on Thursday, offered to investigate opposition allegations of vote-rigging and said he wanted to "unite" the country under his leadership.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Monday that any potential International Monetary Fund bailout for Pakistan's new government should not provide funds to pay off Chinese lenders.

In December 2015, when the terror attack in Pathankot was still nearly a month away, Khan had met Modi in New Delhi as an Opposition leader and praised the positive aspects in the two neighbours' bilateral ties and expected the ties between them to get closer.

Ties between India and Pakistan have remained tense since the Mumbai terror attack in 2008, and worsened after the Uri terror attack by Pak-based terrorists.

This, he said, despite the fact he had many friends in India due to his cricketing ties.

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India accuses Pakistan of backing several anti-India militant groups and helping them to infiltrate the divided Kashmir region to stoke violence.

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