ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: A day after Pakistani PM Imran Khan said he thought there may be a better chance of peace talks with India if BJP won the general elections, Congress and other opposition parties immediately jumped upon the remark to allege a nexus between Pakistan and Modi. 

“Pakistan has officially allied with Modi! A vote for Modi is a vote for Pakistan,” Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, trying to use Khan’s comments to turn the tables on the rival on an issue on which Modi had repeatedly sought to push the opposition party on the back foot.

He said Pakistan’s strategic aim was that India should be ruled by a party which creates internal strife and weakens the country. He said BJP fit Pakistan’s diabolical designs. 

However, he added that Khan’s wish would never come true as Indians were against forces propagating hatred and would defeat Modi and BJP in the coming polls. Congress said the entire country had seen “Modi’s love for Nawaz Sharif and the ISI” when he went “uninvited” to Pakistan and “invited” its spy agency to probe a serious terror attack on India’s defence installation. “It seems the love affair with Imran Khan now continues,” he said. 

On Tuesday, Imran had said, “If BJP wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached.” He added that “right-wing Hindus would support PM Modi in achieving that”. The Pakistani PM had also said if the next Indian government was led by Congress, it might not risk settling the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan, fearing a backlash from the right (in India).

The Modi government has refused to engage with Pakistan unless Islamabad takes tough and verifiable measures to stop using terrorist gangs against India. In a recent interview, Modi said with multiple power centres in Pakistan, it was difficult to identify whom to begin with.

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury too slammed Modi over Khan’s remarks, saying it was known whom Pakistan wanted as PM. “Pakistan has been the only issue of Modi’s poll campaign, where he has scurrilously tried to link it to the opposition. Now we know who Pakistan actually wants as PM, the only Indian PM to have invited ISI to a military base, and the one who went to Pakistan uninvited,” he said.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also took a dig at Modi over Khan’s “endorsement” and said, “Modi will have to answer that because it was Modi who, till now, was saying that Pakistan and militants want BJP to lose, but it has become clear today that it is Pakistan which wants Modi to win again.” Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal also seized on Khan’s remarks, saying if Modi won in polls, crackers would be burst in Pakistan.