Pakistan wants to bring peace through dialogue with Taliban, India: PM | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Pakistan wants to bring peace through dialogue with Taliban, India: PM

Pakistan Press Foundation

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reiterated his commitment that he wants peace with India and even the Taliban through dialogue.

In an interview to a British daily The Telegraph, he said Pakistan is desirous of settling all the disputes with Indian including Kashmir through dialogue.

“My responsibility is to restore peace in Pakistan and bring the genuine security that will allow economic development,” Nawaz said.

“To achieve this goal I need to explore an option of direct dialogue with the Taliban, as Britain negotiated with the Irish Republican Army in order to resolve the conflict in Northern Ireland,” Sharif said.

“My mandate from the people of Pakistan is a mandate for peace with India and I want to pursue conflict resolution with New Delhi with far more energy and vigour.”

“In addition, we want to improve the relationship with the United States and want an end to the drone strikes which is number one irritant in the US-Pakistan relationship,” Sharif said.

Nawaz Sharif said he sees the PML-N victory in the elections as mandate for peace with India.

A crippling arms race between Pakistan and India must “come to an end” and the two rivals should settle their conflict over Kashmir, the new Pakistani prime minister has told The Daily Telegraph.

India and Pakistan have been locked in confrontation over the disputed territory of Kashmir ever since Britain left the sub-continent in 1947. Today, India deploys an army of 1.1 million men, Pakistan has 550,000 regular soldiers and the two enemies have amassed nuclear arsenals.

“We’ve been in a very unfortunate arms race with India ever since Partition and I think we are a very unfortunate country from that point of view,” said Mr Sharif.

“Both Pakistan and India have wasted so much money on military hardware, building up their defences against each-other. They’ve been running after MiG-29s, we’ve been running after F-16s; they’ve been buying more tanks and we’ve been buying more military hardware. We’ve been running after submarines – how expensive they are! – and then of course India was the first one to tread the nuclear path,” he told the Telegraph.

Both neighbours should stop the game of mutual recrimination, he added. “Anything going wrong in India – they blame us; anything going wrong in Pakistan – we blame them. I think this blame game has to stop.”

But Sharif then hinted that India was behind terrorism inside Pakistan, saying: “Our sources also tell me that there is a hidden hand of India in certain disturbances going on in Pakistan and the acts of terrorism which take place in many parts of Pakistan.”

Nawaz Sharif is to look into the case of a New York Times journalist who was expelled from the country after writing a number of revealing stories about the security situation.

Nawaz Sharif to review case of expelled New York Times journalist Declan Walsh.

Sharif has asked the information minister to investigate how Declan Walsh, the New York Times bureau chief, was unceremoniously bundled out of Pakistan when the previous government was in power.

Walsh, who reported from Pakistan for more than nine years, had previously written a story suggesting that some attacks on Islamist radicals attributed to US drone strikes may actually have been carried out by Pakistan’s own forces.

Two days before the election in May – before Nawaz Sharif became prime minister – Walsh received a midnight message from the government that his visa was being cancelled because of “undesirable activities”.

He was given 72 hours to leave the country, but was picked up and detained within that time and then escorted to the airport.

In his first interview since taking office for the third time, Nawaz Sharif spoke with passion about the need to achieve peace with his largest neighbour and reduce the burden of defence spending.

The Nation

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