Islamabad: Former cricketer Imran Khan said he grew up "hating India" due to the bloodshed and violence associated with the Partition but his views changed after he toured India to play cricket.
"I grew up hating India because I grew up in Lahore and there was so much...the massacres of 1947, so much bloodshed and anger.”
"But as I started touring India, I got such love and friendship there that all this disappeared," Khan said in an interview to a Indian channel.
"As time passed, I realised that there`s so much... we have a similar history, there`s so much in culture that`s so similar compared to Western countries.”
"There`s so much we have in common and above all, there is so much the people of the two countries (can) benefit from if we have a civilised relationship," he added. Khan said if his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party came to power in the next general election, he would do his utmost to improve relations between the two countries.
"I can give my best shot. I can fight to the last ball. We can only try. Success is sometimes not in our hands, it is in the hands of the almighty. So I can say that I will give it my best shot," he said.
Khan said he prayed to God to allow him to work for better India-Pakistan relations "because I, for one, have received so much love in India".
Asked if this vision would guide the relationship with India, he said, "Absolutely, I have no prejudice against any country, and more specifically, India."
Referring to the Indian cricket team`s tour of Pakistan in 2005-06, Khan said: "I`d never seen two countries as close as that. So it`s very said that Mumbai happens (and) we were back to square one".