Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday voiced hope that the comprehensive bilateral dialogue process between Pakistan and India would move forward in days to come as he underlined that “differences” on all outstanding issues, including on Kashmir can be resolved only through talks.
Addressing a joint session of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s ‘assembly’ in Muzaffarabad to mark ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, Sharif also said that Pakistan is ready to cooperate with India on every matter, including terrorism.
“Pakistan is most affected by terrorism. Who wants eradication of terrorism more than Pakistan?” he said. “Difference of opinion between two countries is not unheard of. What is unusual is that for 6-7 decades, we have not been able to get rid of these differences,” he said.
Sharif said that solution to all outstanding issues with India including Kashmir lies in dialogue. “I brought this up with the Indian leadership and would like to reiterate that the solution to our problems lies in dialogue. Unless we sit together and talk about these issues, they won’t be resolved,” he said. He expressed hope that Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue process between Pakistan and India would move forward in days to come.
Indo-Pak ties have recently witnessed many ups and downs after the decision to engage in a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.
The India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary level talks, scheduled for January 15, were deferred in the wake of the Pathankot air base terror attack, for which India has blamed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and has been seeking action against the terror outfit and its chief Masood Azhar. Sharif said that Pakistan wants peace in entire South Asia, of which Kashmir is an important part.
“Pakistan has tried to give a new vision to the region aimed at bringing peace to the area. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a part of these efforts,” he was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan. The Prime Minister said that the corridor would benefit the PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Announcing 250 million rupees for development projects in PoK, he said many hydro-electricity projects are being initiated in the area and a railway link from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad is in the pipeline. “We want to build a railway link from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad and a highway from Mirpur to Muzaffarabad,” Sharif said, adding that a project to construct expressway from Murree to Muzaffarabad is also under consideration.
Speaking on the occasion, PoK’s ‘Prime Minister’ Chaudhry Abdul Majeed lauded Sharif for “taking a clear stance on Kashmir in the United Nations.”
Every year February 5 is observed as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to pledge support for the people of Kashmir. The day features seminars, protests marches and speeches by various parties and groups. The day is a national holiday in Pakistan.