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LAHORE: National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua met former premier Nawaz Sharif on Thursday — first time after the latter’s disqualification in the Panama Papers case in July.

The meeting at Mr Sharif’s Jati Umra residence in Raiwind, which reportedly lasted five hours, discussed matters of national security, relations with neighbouring countries and terrorism.

The ousted premier stressed the need for friendly relations with neighbouring countries. “There is a dire need to improve ties with the neighbouring countries. Peace is inevitable in Afghanistan for peace in the region,” a PML-N leader quoted Mr Sharif as saying during the meeting.

Ousted PM stresses friendly relations with neighbouring countries

The former prime minister said he always talked about friendly relations with Pakistan’s neighbours because without them problems being faced by the people of the region could not be solved. “War is no solution to any problem.”

Mr Sharif and the security adviser also discussed the issue of foreign support for terrorists in Pakistan and pledged that war against terrorism would continue till the elimination of the last terrorist from its soil.

In reply to a question about the significance of the Sharif-Janjua meeting, Climate Change Minister and PML-N information secretary Mushahidullah Khan told Dawn that Mr Sharif was chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and he could meet any member of his party’s government.

When pointed out that while Mr Sharif had been presiding over meetings of members of the PML-N government mostly on political issues, holding such a marathon meeting with the security adviser for the first time since his ouster was unusual, the minister said: “It is significant but not unusual. While Mian sahib is keeping a close eye on other issues, he is also well aware of the country’s security issues. He raised the Kashmir issue, especially martyrdom of Burhan Wani, in the United Nations as he does not need any certificate of patriotism.”

In response to a question about Mr Sharif’s ‘strained’ relations with the military establishment, Mr Khan said: “The security adviser does not need anybody’s permission to brief the PML-N chief on security issues as he is a civilian member of the cabinet.”

Asked if Mr Janjua’s briefing to Mr Sharif had anything to do with the special tour of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia, the minister said: “I don’t think so. Shahbaz Sharif will himself brief Mian sahib on his return (from Saudi Arabia).”

On Wednesday, Shahbaz Sharif left for Saudi Arabia on a special plane sent by the kingdom. According to the Punjab government, the chief minister will hold “important meetings” in Saudi Arabia, besides performing Umra.

Shahbaz Sharif is likely to return on Friday (today).

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2017