Pakistan has learnt its lesson, ready to have serious talks with India, says PM Shehbaz Sharif
Sharif, however, added that talks can take place only after India restores Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday called for serious and sincere talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
“Pakistan has learnt its lesson,” Sharif told Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV in an interview. “We had three wars with India and the consequence of those wars was it only brought more misery, unemployment, poverty.”
The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader said that the country wants to have a peaceful relationship with India, provided both the nations are able to resolve all outstanding problems.
“My message to Prime Minister Modi is that let’s sit down on the table and have serious and sincere talks to resolve our burning issues like Kashmir, where flagrant violations of human rights are taking place day in and day out,” Sharif said.
He alleged that India had “usurped whatever semblance of autonomy was given to the Kashmiris” by abrogating Article 370 in 2019. The law had given special autonomous powers to Jammu and Kashmir, including its own constitution and land ownership.
“We want to alleviate poverty, achieve prosperity, and provide education and health facilities and employment to our people and not waste our resources on bombs and ammunition, that is the message I want to give to PM Modi,” the Pakistani prime minister told Al Arabiya TV.
However, Sharif’s office on Tuesday said that talks with India can only take place after the country reverses abrogation of Article 370.
“Without India’s revocation of this step, negotiations are not possible,” the statement said. “The settlement of the Kashmir dispute must be in accordance with the UN resolutions and aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Sharif’s message to India came at a time when Pakistan is facing an acute economic crisis, forcing the government to close malls and restaurants early. The South Asian nation’s finances were also impacted last year by a devastating flood that displaced nearly 3.3 crore people of its 23 crore population.
Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have dwindled to alarmingly low levels. To pay for energy imports, the country needs foreign currency, especially United States dollars.
The country has sought monetary assistance from nations like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and China. Last week, Saudi Arabia said it would consider increasing the kingdom’s assistance and investments in Pakistan to $10 billion (Rs 81,763 crore) from $1 billion (Rs 8,176 crore), reported The Wall Street Journal.