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PM makes peace overtures to neighbours

Updated Apr 12, 2017 11:31am
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaking at the Graduation Ceremony held at PAF Academy Asghar Khan in Risalpur on April 11. ─ PPI
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaking at the Graduation Ceremony held at PAF Academy Asghar Khan in Risalpur on April 11. ─ PPI

ISLAMABAD/NOWSHERA: Amid the prevailing tensions following the disappearance of a former Pakistani military officer in Nepal and the subsequent death sentence awarded to Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday appeared to strike a reconciliatory tone on relations with neighbouring countries, including India.

Addressing the passing-out parade at the Asghar Khan PAF Academy in Risalpur, the prime minister noted that Pakistan was a peace-loving country and wanted friendly relations with its neighbours.

“Cooperation rather than conflict and shared prosperity instead of suspicion are the hallmark[s] of our policy,” he remarked. However, he warned that the country’s desire for peaceful coexistence should not be mistaken for weakness.

The PM’s remarks, tantamount to offering friendship and asking “neighbours” — believed to be a veiled reference to India — to shun mistrust, appear particularly poignant in the midst of the frenzy following Jadhav’s sentencing to death by a military tribunal.

“Pakistan, for its part, will never hesitate to extend the hand of friendship to all and shall never waver from returning goodwill with even more goodwill,” Mr Sharif said.

The prime minister gave a similar impression in an interview to state-run APP, where he expressed the hope that the Trump administration would help resolve the Kashmir dispute.

Sharif hopes Trump administration will help resolve Kashmir dispute

“We wish to see progress towards the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, which is the biggest hurdle in the way of peace and development in the region and the whole world, including the US, is fully aware of this reality,” APP quoted the PM as saying.

Fraught relations between Pakistan and India took a further plunge last year following an uprising in India-held Kahsmir. The death sentence awarded to Jadhav, it is feared, could add to the acrimony between the two states.

There has, however, been speculation that the two sides may amicably settle the row over Jadhav’s capture and subsequent court-martial and the PM’s remarks only lend credence to such conjecture.

Opposition politicians have repeatedly called for the prime minister to speak on the Jadhav issue and raise it internationally as proof of Indian involvement in terrorism inside Pakistan.

On March 3 this year, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan had even joked about donating Rs50,000 to charity if the PM decided to speak on the matter, a challenge Sartaj Aziz had happily accepted at the time.

But PM’s spokesman Mussadiq Malik rejected criticism that the premier had been quiet on the Jadhav issue and was making peace overtures to India.

“Do you think prime ministers should dignify every [spy] who has been caught by naming him? Is that the idea? The prime minister has been very upfront and our view is very clear,” Mr Malik told Dawn, dismissing criticism by opposition parties as a product of “polarised politics”.

“The prime ministers only give policy statements, which the PM (Sharif) has given very clearly that we will like to improve relationships with all neighbours … and we have very clearly said that no act of terrorism in Pakistan would be tolerated,” the spokesman said.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2017

Comments (29) Closed

Apr 12, 2017 11:46am

Last 70 years we Indians have seen the offer of friendship. Nothing new.

M. Emad
Apr 12, 2017 11:52am

Senior Indian politician L. K. Advani last week seeks Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's help to improve Indo-Pakistan relations.

Apr 12, 2017 12:03pm

@M. Emad I love Bangladesh our friends.

Apr 12, 2017 01:01pm

Ties are based on equality and mutual overtures not onesided.

Proud pakistani
Apr 12, 2017 01:12pm

@Peace atleast you have seen the offer of friendship. We Pakistanis havent even seen that from your side.

Apr 12, 2017 01:20pm

@M. Emad Yes - I bet he did that by offering to expel illegal Bangladeshis in India and reiterating the stance that all from Bangladesh trying to cross the border illegally to try and earn some living would be shot dead.

Hasnain Tariq
Apr 12, 2017 02:01pm

This is good regional politics by Nawaz Sharif. Sending message that we ll not tolerate any intervention of neighbors in Pakistan and as well as sending a peaceful message that we also want good relations with neighbors.

Apr 12, 2017 02:09pm

Mr.Prime Minister please return the goodwill gesture by sending Kulbhushan Yadav safe and sound to India.

Suresh Handa
Apr 12, 2017 02:26pm

@M. Emad First Advani should seek to improve relations with Modi.

Apr 12, 2017 02:28pm

I am amazed and amused by PMs timing of the statement.

Apr 12, 2017 02:41pm

Indian must learn out of it ! This is the language of Leadership unlike India !

Ranjit Haripur
Apr 12, 2017 02:42pm

ironic !

Apr 12, 2017 02:54pm

Nawaz Shari is a businessman and running the country like business. India cannot be our friend it is a bitter truth which PM should understand.

Taimoor khan
Apr 12, 2017 03:06pm

This man is still living in some parallel world from the rest of the Pakistanis. Goes to show to disconnect our rulers are with the masses of Pakistan.

Apr 12, 2017 03:25pm

How out of touch is the PM from world politics? I am plugged in to US politics 24/7 and haven't heard a peep from State department sources of any interest or initiative by the US to mediate between India and Pakistan. It is as if US doesn't have enough on its plate, with its involvement in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, ISIS, North Korea, worsening relations with Russia and a President who is known to think America First.

Javed Arshad
Apr 12, 2017 03:28pm

Sir there has to be a genuine desire on both sides.

Apr 12, 2017 03:39pm

@Peace , do u really want peace and friendship because you see both sides have to show clarity and political will towards an issue which is critical for innocent lives .

Apr 12, 2017 03:44pm

Logicaldue well said ,surprises me to how disconnected r majority of our polticians &power full ppl in pk!!?

Apr 12, 2017 03:47pm

How come Mumbai attack trial was not under a Military court. Jadhav's trail was too short and Mumbai attack trial continues. Clearly something is not right.

Apr 12, 2017 03:50pm

@Peace last 50 years when Pakistan's economy wad better than yours you were ready for peace

GIlgity in germany
Apr 12, 2017 04:40pm

@M. Emad your comment out of context ...

GIlgity in germany
Apr 12, 2017 04:41pm

We always offer friendship but our nighbour take fire out of mouth against pakistan so PM shareef leave them move on with development works.

super good
Apr 12, 2017 04:47pm

Instead of arguing ourselves emotionally, let us accept we do not know politics and what is going on in the minds of politicians and people in power. Let Sharif and Modi decide what they want for their countries. We can only watch, as we have no say.

Apr 12, 2017 04:54pm

actions speak louder than words.

Amir Ayub
Apr 12, 2017 05:00pm

yes Mr. PM said very well. Peace and peace should be the voice of every human being every country, every society, every village as the world needs it more at this juncture. Pakistan should keep its desire for peace on but on the other end it should have vigilant eyes on its opponents who have different design against pakistan

Amir Ayub
Apr 12, 2017 05:03pm

I am agreed with Proud Pakistani's comment. India has never returned any thing positive to Pakistan in its attempt for the peace. Instead India is busy to isolate Pakistan from the world at the pretext of terrorism in which Pakistanis and not Indians were killed in thousands.

zygomanu trebon
Apr 12, 2017 05:30pm

@Proud pakistani : I think , Sir, he was being ironic ... just my 2 cents opinion.

Apr 12, 2017 07:01pm

@Hasnain Tariq wow !

Sab se pehle pakistan
Apr 12, 2017 07:16pm

Its true as our honourable PM and his family has invested millions in our neighboring countries.

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