Seeking meaningful talks with India, peaceful ties: Shehbaz to Modi

Seeking “peaceful and cooperative” ties with India, Shehbaz Sharif, the new Pakistani Prime Minister, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modiclaiming that this can be achieved through “meaningful dialogue”.

The Sunday Express has learned that in a letter received on Saturday, Sharif also said Pakistan remained committed to “regional peace and security”.

Sharif, younger brother of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, responded to a letter Prime Minister Modi wrote a few days ago, shortly after exchanging messages on Twitter. In his letter, Modi called for “constructive engagement”.

In New Delhi, officials described the Pakistani response as “positive”.

Ties between the two countries crumbled after the Balakot airstrikes following the Pulwama terror attack in February 2019 and the end of J&K’s special status under Section 370 in August of the same year. Both countries have reduced their high commissions and there are no full-time high commissioners in each other’s capitals.

On April 11, hours after Shehbaz Sharif asked him to come forward to address the issue of Kashmir so that the two countries could focus on fighting poverty and unemployment, Modi congratulated him on his election to the post. as Prime Minister and said that India wanted peace and stability in a region. free from terrorism.

“Congratulations to HE Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on his election as Prime Minister of Pakistan. India wants peace and stability in a region free from terror, so that we can focus on our development challenges and ensure the welfare and prosperity of our people,” Modi said in a Twitter post.

In response to this, Shehbaz tweeted, “Pakistan wants peaceful and cooperative ties with India.

The peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir, is essential. Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism are well known. Let us keep the peace and focus on the socio-economic development of our people.

Modi’s congratulatory tweet was similar to the letter he sent to Imran Khan in August 2018 when he became Pakistan’s prime minister.

Congratulating Khan on taking office, Modi had expressed hope that the smooth transition of government in Pakistan would strengthen and cement the people’s belief in democracy. He recalled their telephone conversation during which they talked about their common vision to bring peace, security and prosperity to the subcontinent to make it “free from terror and violence”, and to focus on Development. They had spoken in July 2018, days after it became clear Khan seemed set to be prime minister.

With Shehbaz Sharif in charge, New Delhi is watching developments in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore with “cautious optimism” about progress in bilateral relations.

Top sources said the regime change could offer a “diplomatic opening”. According to sources in the strategic establishment, the implications could be far-reaching.

Emerging from the shadow of his older brother Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz, the president of the PML-N, is known to be close to the Pakistani army – he was chief minister of the Pakistani province of Punjab. The Sharif family has been a proponent of better relations with India.

The officials stressed that the main concerns of the two countries remain the same and that Shehbaz is well placed to resume the bilateral conversation.

Better trade relations with India could provide much-needed boost to Pakistan’s economy. Known for focusing on infrastructure projects – construction of roads, bridges and flyovers and transport projects in Pakistan Punjab – Shehbaz is keen to deliver ahead of Pakistan’s upcoming elections in 2023.

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