NEW YORK — A major US newspaper has placed Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan on its “starting list” of world leaders to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, citing his leadership in de-escalating the recent tensions between India and Pakistan.

Besides the Pakistani leader, The Christian Science Monitor has listed South Korean President Moon Jae-in for opening a door to North Korea and seeking a peaceful engagement aimed at de-nuclearising the Korean peninsula; Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for signing a peace pact with Eritrea and freeing political prisoners, and Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, who became interim president with the support of the National Assembly to bring about peaceful change in the Latin American country.

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“Perhaps the biggest surprise in peaceful leadership – and most critical to the world – is Imran Khan,” the publication said.

It added that after a February 14 attack that killed at least 40 Indian soldiers in Kashmir, India launched its first airstrike inside Pakistan since a 1971 war. The two nuclear-capable states were primed for an all-out conflict.

In a goodwill gesture, Imran Khan returned the Indian pilot who was shot down inside Pakistan. He also offered talks with India.

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“Nobody wins in a war. Especially countries that have the sort of weapons that India and Pakistan possess should not even think of war…,” the publication added while quoting Khan.

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