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‘Pak desires peaceful ties with India’: Pakistan’s new PM Shehbaz Sharif to PM Modi

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan should secure peace and focus on the socio-economic development of their people, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Tuesday, April 12, while responding to a congratulatory message from PM Narendra Modi.

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“Thank you Premier Narendra Modi for felicitations. Pakistan desires peaceful & cooperative ties with India. Peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes including Jammu & Kashmir is indispensable. Pakistan’s sacrifices in fighting terrorism are well-known. Let’s secure peace and focus on socio-economic development of our people.” Shehbaz Sharif wrote.

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70-year-old Shehbaz Sharif was sworn-in as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan on Monday, bringing to an end the political uncertainty that had gripped the country since a no-confidence motion was introduced against his predecessor Imran Khan on 8 March.

“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.’ PM Modi had written to Shehbaz on Monday after he got elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Sharif was elected as premier during a parliamentary vote boycotted by more than 100 MPs from former prime minister Imran Khan’s party — the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. He subsequently took the oath of office on Monday night.

Speaking in Pakistan’s National Assembly after his election, Sharif laid out his country’s standard position of raising the Kashmir issue at international forums and offering diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri people. However, he devoted more time to India in the foreign policy segment of his speech than any other country, including China and the US.

“We desire good relations with India but there cannot be lasting peace till the equitable resolution of the Kashmir issue,” he said, speaking in Urdu.

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“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.

“Come, let us decide the Kashmir issue according to UN resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people and end poverty on both sides and create jobs, and bring progress and prosperity.”

Sharif emphasised that neighbours are “not a matter of choice”, and are “something you have to live with”.

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