Indian envoy to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale on Saturday met Pakistani Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore. Pakistan government sources told The Sunday Express that they discussed Islamabad’s actions against terrorism days after Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed was placed under house arrest. Shahbaz Sharif, who is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s brother, met Bambawale along with diplomats from the US, UK, European Union, Australia and Tajikistan.
“Shahbaz Sharif also urged Pakistan and India should work together for peace in the region,” Radio Pakistan reported. Sources said that the meeting covered broad aspects of Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism and issues like energy crisis.
Shahbaz’s meeting with the diplomats to talk about the fight against terrorism is being seen as a signal to Delhi and Washington about Pakistan’s intentions to resume dialogue. It came after the Pakistan Army supported the government’s action against Saeed for the first time and called his detention a “policy decision taken in the national interest”.
Pakistan government sources confirmed to The Sunday Express that the meetings between Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani and US officials had prompted action against Saeed. Shahbaz’s briefing to the diplomats was aimed at conveying Pakistan’s sincerity.
Radio Pakistan reported that Shahbaz said that Pakistan is safe and economically strong as other countries are keen to invest. He spoke about measures taken to promote tourism and added that terrorism and energy crisis had been controlled to a great extent.
Sources said that recent humanitarian gestures from both sides have contributed to a more positive atmosphere. On Saturday, a 5-year-old boy was reunited with his family in Pakistan. The boy’s father, who is from Jammu and Kashmir, had reportedly forcibly taken him to India. Earlier this month, Pakistan sent back Chandu Babulal Chavan, an Indian soldier, who had crossed the LoC.