Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s brother and PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif has asked India to resume peace talks with Islamabad, saying the Singapore summit between the US and North Korea should set a good precedent for both the bickering neighbours to follow.
Marking an epoch in the history of the decades-long tense relationship between the US and North Korea, leaders of the two countries yesterday met in Singapore for a summit where the North’s Kim Jong-un pledged to work toward the “complete denuclearisation” in return for security guarantees from Washington. “Ever since the start of Korean War, the two nations have been at odds with one another – both threatening to use military force with their nuclear arsenals facing each other.
“If the United States and North Korea can return from the brink of a nuclear flashpoint, there is no reason why Pakistan and India cannot do the same … beginning with a dialogue on Kashmir whose heroic people have resisted and rejected Indian occupation,” Shahbaz Sharif said in a series of tweets.
He further said: “It is time for comprehensive peace talks in our region. International community must focus on the peace process in Afghanistan. Dialogue between Pakistan and India over Kashmir should also resume so that the long-festering Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with the UN resolutions.”
This is a rare statement from Shahbaz Sharif on India, contrary to his elder brother (Nawaz Sharif) whose one of the major reasons behind his ouster, as many political pundits here say, was his efforts to normalise ties with New Delhi. Shahbaz, who is a prime ministerial candidate from his party, also asked India to leave behind the past tensions between the arch-rivals and starts afresh.
“The US and North Korea talks should be a role model for Pakistan and Indian. If they can return from their previous hostile positions of attacking each other, Pakistan and India can also resume composite dialogue,” he said. The leader said a dialogue between Pakistan and India over Kashmir was needed to resolve the long-festering dispute in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.
The PML-N chief said if his party returns to power in July 25 elections, it will promote peace in the region with a focus on Afghanistan, as peace in Afghanistan is “inextricably intertwined” with peace and security in Pakistan. He welcomed the initiatives mooted by the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban for ceasefire in Afghanistan during Eid-ul-Fitr.
Terming it as a positive first step towards promoting an Afghan-led Afghan-owned peace process, Shahbaz said the PML-N government had played a pivotal role in initiating steps for peace in Afghanistan, including hosting the first-ever direct, face-to-face talks between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban in Murree in July 2015.