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Peace only option for Pakistan and India, says Shahbaz

16 December, 2013

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LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Sunday India and Pakistan had no other option but to follow the path of peace "but it does not mean that issues like Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek are disregarded".

"A lasting peace could not be guaranteed in the region without addressing these issues," he told the Indian media before leaving for Pakistan.

The chief minister said he was confident that his visit to India would help pave the way for cooperation between the two countries in energy, agriculture, livestock and other sectors. "I am leaving India with many hopes and expectations," he added.

The chief minister said that during his visit, he met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as commerce minister and delivered a message of peace and goodwill from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

He said he hoped that Manmohan Singh would soon visit Pakistan.

He added that although Manmohan Singh had some reservations, the Indian PM was assured that Pakistan was ready to remove all his doubts as Nawaz Sharif had already made an offer of independent investigation by a third party into the incidents along the Line of Control.

The chief minister said that the purpose of his visit to India was to benefit from the experience of India in the sector of power generation and acquire its cooperation.

Therefore, he added, he visited several coal and solar energy power generation plants in various Indian cities. He said there is no doubt that India has made extraordinary progress in energy sector and has abundant electivity and there is no reason why Pakistan should not benefit from the experience of India to rid its people of load shedding.

Similarly, he said, Pakistan should import agricultural machinery from India instead of overseas countries.

Shahbaz Sharif said that commerce secretaries of both India and Pakistan would soon meet in New Delhi or Islamabad.

To a question, the chief minister said that promotion of Indo-Pak ties would benefit both the countries as industry would flourish and job opportunities would be made available to common man.

End.

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