Shehbaz Sharif asked Modi to hold serious and sincere talks

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif asked Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, to hold "serious and sincere" talks over the matter. 

The prime minister's offer to hold talks came during an interview with the Al Arabiya news channel. "My message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that let us sit down on the table and have serious and sincere talks to resolve our burning issues like Kashmir," he said. 

Speaking about the Muslims in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu Kashmir (IIOJK), the prime minister said that flagrant human rights violations were taking place day in and day out in the region under Modi's watch. 

He said that the neighbouring country had usurped any semblance of autonomy given to the Kashmiris according to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The autonomy was revoked in August 2019.

The premier also said that the minorities in India were being persecuted. “This must stop so that message can go around the globe that India is ready to have talks.”

PM Shehbaz said Pakistan and India are neighbours and have to live with each other.

“It is up to us to live peacefully and make progress or quarrel with each other, and waste time and resources. We have three wars with India and it only brought more misery, poverty and unemployment to the people. We have learnt our lesson and we want to live in peace provided we are able to resolve our genuine problems.

“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 Prime Minister Modi,” he added.

The premier remarked that both countries are nuclear powers and armed to teeth. "If God forbid a war breaks out who will live to tell what happened," said PM Shehbaz. 

He said the leadership of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could play an important role to bring Pakistan and India together, adding he would hold talks with the Indian leadership with the sincerity of purpose.

He said Saudi Arabia was a friendly and brotherly country, and they had unique brotherly relations for centuries.

Before Pakistan came into being and carved out of India, millions of Muslims had brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia and they were visiting Makkah and Madina, he recalled.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry has expressed shock at PM Shehbaz's statement, saying that the party "strongly rejects" the premier's approach to hold talks with the Indian prime minister.

Chaudhry said that the prime minister "cannot be allowed to sell Kashmir". He stressed that the Modi leadership reserve the constitutional position of Kashmir to its original.
 

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