PAKISTAN,INDIA: Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif offered an olive branch to India on Monday, saying the resolution of the Kashmir issue will allow the two sides to focus on shared problems such as poverty, though Prime Minister Narendra Modi linked any engagement to the elimination of terror.
Sharif, elected the country’s 23rd Prime Minister during a Parliamentary vote boycotted by more than 100 MPs from former prime minister Imran Khan’s party, also trotted out the standard Pakistani position of raising the Kashmir issue at international forums and offering diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif and said that India wishes for peace and stability so that both the countries can work towards mutual development challenges.
Taking to Twitter, PM Modi wrote, “Congratulations to H. E. Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on his election as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
India desires peace and stability in a region free of terror so that we can focus on our development challenges and ensure the well-being and prosperity of our people.”
Speaking after his election, Sharif devoted more time to India in the foreign policy segment of his speech than any other country, including Pakistan’s traditional ally China and the US. He was critical of the foreign policy of Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote on Sunday.
“I would give Prime Minister Modi this advice that you should understand about the poverty, unemployment [and] sickness on both sides. People don’t have medicines, education, trade or jobs. Why do we want to cause harm to ourselves and the coming generations?” he said.
Sharif added: “Neighbours are not a matter of choice, it is something you have to live with.”
Sharif noted the historic Pakistan-US relations have witnessed “ups and downs” and that the US is the destination for Pakistani exports worth billions of dollars. “We need to have ties on the basis of equality,” he said.
Turkey, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Iran, the European Union, the UK and Afghanistan were the other countries that found a mention in Sharif’s speech. – THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, THE STATESMAN