Don’t speak against India, Sharif tells his ministers

Islamabad, Dec 19 (IANS) Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has stopped his ministers from giving anti-India statements so that the peace process is not hit, an official said.

A close aide to Sharif said on Friday that the ministers and senior officials had been asked not to issue any statement that could damage the peace process.

“There will be statements only that encourage the dialogue process rather than digging out the past. The PM has asked the close aides and cabinet members to promote peace,” The Nation quoted an official as saying.

He said Sharif was optimistic about better ties with India, which would benefit the whole region.

Sharif was annoyed by statements from India that New Delhi only wanted to discuss Pakistan occupied Kashmir in talks, but understands this is not Inidan government’s policy, the official added.

Sharif, the official said, wanted to give top priority to Kashmir, terrorism and trade when the two sides discuss peace.

Another official said Sharif and the military leadership were on the same page to make peace with India.

“There is no difference of opinion and both agree that there should be no compromise on the stated position on key issues,” he added.

An interaction between Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Paris and subsequent meeting of the National Security Advisors in Bangkok set the pace for improvement in the bilateral ties.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also visited Pakistan on December 8 to attend the Heart of Asia conference.

She met Sharif and his advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines of the conference.

It is expected that Sharif and Modi will meet again in Switzerland in January. The two leaders will be together on January 20 to attend the 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos-Klosters.

India’s outgoing High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan on Thursday said the relations between the two countries were heading towards betterment.

Analysts said it was a positive development that Pakistan and India agreed to resume comprehensive dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues.

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