NEW DELHI: PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has said if elected to lead Pakistan again he would set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the Kargil military adventure by former army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf.

In an interview broadcast on Tuesday, Mr Sharif told CNN-IBN’s Karan Thapar that he wanted to take relations with India to the high trajectory of February 1999 when he signed the Lahore accord with then Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

“That was a new chapter that was being written in the history of the two countries. I was very happy to go to Wagah border to receive him there, to accord him a very warm welcome and he had a lot of other people also with him on the bus and suddenly I saw Mr Dev Anand jumping out of the bus and I was very happy to see him, a wonderful person. He also happens to be from the same college as I was.”

Will extremists like Hafiz Saeed be brought under control, will his hate speeches stop because it annoys India and it undermines the relationship? “I think the state must not allow any such speeches to be made by anybody, including Hafiz sahab,” Mr Sharif said, adding that assertions of the ISI’s alleged involvement in the Mumbai attack would also be investigated.

“I think such issues certainly need investigation, including the one which happened in Kargil. I think an inquiry commission should be held on Kargil as well,” Mr Sharif said. He said Gen Musharraf’s role in it would be put under sharp focus.

Dawn Monitoring Desk adds: When asked if he saw Kashmir as a core issue or as one of many issues which must be urgently tackled, he said: “It is a very important issue. I think we should not rule that out and this is an issue that does not let us move forward in the manner that we really want to move forward. So I think this issue needs to be resolved peacefully, to the satisfaction of not only both countries but also of the Kashmiri people. So I think all the three parties must have full satisfaction that the issue is being resolved.”

Mr Sharif said Pakistan didn’t see the Kashmir issue as an obstacle to all other aspects of the bilateral relationship and it was moving forward on trade and other sectors.

“But India should also pay or appear to be paying attention to the problem of Kashmir and get this problem out of the way, solve it to the satisfaction of all the three parties and if that can be done, what is the harm? If India is also satisfied, Pakistan is satisfied and so are the people of Kashmir. I think we should be looking forward to exploring such an avenue.”

Commenting on a proposal to put the Kashmir issue ‘on backburner’ while pursuing improvement of trade ties between the two countries he said that was already being done but “let’s not let such issues be on the backburner indefinitely”.

“I think both countries must feel the urge to solve this very important problem.”

He said a ‘back channel’ set up by him and Mr Vajpayee should be reactivated. “I used to meet my man once a week and I was told that the Indian prime minister would meet his man once a week and those two people were meeting very frequently with each other. So that was working.”

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