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Dialogue only option for India, Pakistan: PM Nawaz

14 October, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that relations between Pakistan and India can only gain through dialogue.

Nawaz said the United Nations resolutions must form the basis for any solution for Kashmir dispute and the people of Kashmir be made part of it. He was talking to US Senators Tim Kaine, Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Angus King, Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who called on him at the PM House. He asked the UN to honour its own resolutions on this matter.

Talking about Pakistan-India ties, the prime minister expressed his disappointment on the cancellation of foreign secretary level talks. He said the only acceptable solution of Kashmir will be the one which is endorsed by all parties, including Pakistan, India and Kashmiris.

He appreciated the US support on Bhasha and Dasu dams. The prime minister informed the US senators that Pakistan has seen improvement in its economic indicators and asked for better market access for Pakistani products in the US. He said that enhancing mutual trade was Pakistan's priority area in bilateral relationships. Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, Foreign Secretary and Secretary to PM, Javed Aslam also attended the meeting.

Following renewed cross-border skirmishes between Pakistani and Indian forces, senior Pakistani military and political leaders have underscored the need for an immediate de-escalation. Pakistan says Indian troops are shelling areas across the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region and a nearly 200-kilometer border called the "Working Boundary" that separates Pakistan's Punjab from the Indian-occupied Kashmir. The shelling has killed nearly 22 people and dozens more have been injured, almost all civilians, over the past week in Pakistan and India, military officials in both countries said. Thousands have fled their homes.

Prime Minister Nawaz on Friday presided over an emergency meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) that makes decisions on key security issues, to discuss the situation arising from the "unprovoked firing by the Indian forces." In an official statement issued at the conclusion of the NSC meeting, the leaders avoided using harsh words and said, "It is the shared responsibility of the leadership of both countries to immediately diffuse the situation." They, however, noted with regret the "irresponsible statements made at the political level in India" in the backdrop of the situation at the LoC and Working Boundary.

Sartaj Aziz conveyed Pakistan's concerns over ceasefire violations across the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary between India and Pakistan to the visiting US congressional delegation. The US delegation, during the meeting with Aziz, discussed a number of issues, including Pakistan's relations with the US and the regional situation. Aziz highlighted the steps taken by the government for the country's economic revival and good governance. He underscored the government's approach of seeking peace in the neighbourhood and expressed his concern at the current security situation along the Line of Control.

The senators appreciated Pakistan's efforts to curb terrorism and acknowledged the sacrifices made by the country in this regard. They agreed that the root causes of terrorism must also be addressed for a longer-term solution of the problem. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked the elected representatives to serve the masses in their respective areas with utmost zeal and resolve their problems. He was talking to a number of members of the National Assembly (MNAs) hailing from Punjab who called on him separately at the PM's House on Monday.

The prime minister told them that people should be informed about the "conspiracies" being hatched against democracy and development of the country but the government is determined to work for the welfare and prosperity of the people according to its manifesto. Matters regarding the infrastructure development and provision of potable water in rural and urban areas in their respective constituencies came under discussion. The MNAs who met the prime minister included Mian Najeebuddin Awaisi, Sardar Mumtaz Khan Tamman, Malik Shakir Bashir Awan, Chaudhry Asadur Rahman, Sheikh Muhammad Akram and Sabibzada Faizul Hassan.

End.

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