WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has underlined the centrality of Kashmir dispute for the regional peace while regretting India’s response to his overture for peace to ensure lasting and durable harmony in South Asia.
Speaking to Pakistani American community hours after landing in Washington at the start of three-day official visit to the US, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan wanted good relations with all its neighbours, including India, and was making sincere efforts for durable peace in the region.
“The entire world knows that Kashmir is the root cause of tension in the region,” said the Prime Minister while referring to the UN resolution on the lingering dispute which calls for giving right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people.
“If we sincerely want to bring peace to the region, we will have to resolve the Kashmir issue.”
Expressing resolve to have cordial ties with all neighbours, Prime Minister Sharif said that India’s response to efforts for peace has not been encouraging.
He also expressed Pakistan’s strong desire for peace in Afghanistan and said that Islamabad would continue to play its role in this regard.He said regional peace was in the interest of all, including Pakistan.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is visiting the United States on the invitation of President Barack Obama.This is Prime Minister’s second visit to the US since assuming power in 2013 in a landslide victory in the general election.
Tension with India, Kashmir dispute and reconciliation in Afghanistan are among the subjects he would discuss with President Obama during official talks on Thursday, in addition to strengthening multi-dimensional ties with the United States, sources told APP earlier.
The US assistance to strengthen the overall common security challenges in the region would also come under discussion, the sources said.
Earlier, the Prime Minister was accorded a standing ovation on his arrival at the Embassy hall to address the Pakistani American community. A larger community gathering in his honour was called off after Prime Minister asked to follow strict austerity measures during his visit.
Amid loud applause, Prime Minister Sharif shared with the community members Pakistan’s impressive performance in all areas of economy, and a strong resolve to combat terrorism which was now paying dividends.
He said today’s Pakistan was different from what he inherited two and a half years ago. “Today, Karachi is not the same as it was a few years ago, today’s FATA is not the same as it was, today’s Balochistan is not the same.”
Listing his government’s priorities, Prime Minister Sharif said that terrorism was the biggest issue facing the country when he took over. The government tried to resolve the issue through peaceful means but it did not work, but it brought the whole nation on one page with regard to action against terrorists, he added.
He said Zarb-e-Azb launched last year produced tremendous results and is still continuing with the same success. It has broken the backbone of terrorists and dismantled and destroyed their sanctuaries. “The day is not far off when terrorism would be uprooted completely,” he added.
In this regard, he paid tributes to the tremendous sacrifices rendered by the army, law enforcement personnel and the administration who, he said, had written a new history with their blood.
The Prime Minister also shared with the Pakistani community efforts to meet the power shortfall and said that projects due to be completed between 2016-18 would end load-shedding in the country.
He also shared with the audience, his government’s success to revive the economy and put it back on the high growth trajectory.
The Prime Minister said the achievements in the economic field has been duly acknowledged by the international agencies and Pakistan’s global ratings have changed from poor to stable and now to positive.