BOONJI (Gilgit): Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said here on Friday that Kashmir is now in world focus and has been accepted as a flashpoint by the international fraternity.
Addressing troops, he said, today, the peace-loving nations now acknowledge the underlying truth in the principled stand of Pakistan on Kashmir issue.
The Kashmiri freedom fighters' movement, he said, is destined to turn victorious.
The prime minister appealed to India to start meaningful dialogue, forthwith, to resolve Kashmir issue.
The world fraternity, he said, knows it fully well that Pakistan is a peace-loving nation. "We do not want war. By dint of our acts, we have proved to the world that we are a peace- loving nation," he said.
We want to see one billion people of our region prosperous. "We don't want that they should confront devastation of war. But, our desire to have peace should not be taken as a weakness,"
The prime minister paying tributes to the valiant armed forces, said: "our courageous armed forces are always prepared for the defence of the country and are fully equipped with requisite weapons."
He said the armed forces have proved that they can emerge successful in every trial with the blessings of Almighty Allah.
Amidst vociferous slogans of Allah-o-Akbar, he said, the lions of Allah Almighty have inflicted heavy losses on the enemy which was much larger in number.
The Prime Minister said the defenders of the country have proved that anyone who dared cast evil eye will have to retreat with humiliation.
He said India's intensive shelling and firing failed to create scare on our courageous citizens and valiant armed forces. He said neither they retreated nor did they loose heart.
Nawaz Sharif paid tributes to the officers, jawans and citizens who laid down their lives and embraced Shahadat. "The nation is proud of these valiant sons of soil who sacrificed their lives for their beloved country."
He assured the people that these sacrifices would not go in vain. He added that his government would take all out steps for the welfare of the bereaved families.
The prime minister said "Islam is a religion of love and peace", being a follower of Islam , he said, we took initiatives for peace and even today are pursuing the path of negotiations and dialogue.
He said the tension between the two rival nuclear states at the Line of Control could lead to a major war. The flame spewing cannons were bringing a bigger confrontation closer."We realised the sensitivity of the situation and averted a ferocious war."
Nawaz Sharif said he has come to pay homage to "our brave soldiers who have turned a new page of valour in the annals of the history."
He hoped the unprecedented sacrifices and undefeatable spirit of our nation would lead to liberation of Kashmir. "I pay salute to these great sons of the nation and also pay tributes to the mothers, sisters and daughters who sacrificed their sons brothers and spouses for the nation.
He said the entire nation is proud of these people. "A Shaheed is very dear to Allah Almighty whose body is touched by the angel of death but with deference," he said and recited a verse from the Holy Quran that "Shaheed is not dead, he is alive."
The prime minister said that the history would not forget the brave persons who had laid down their lives and proved that their spirit of defending the motherland is invincible.
VISIT: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said that he will undertake an extensive visit of the five districts of the Northern Areas, next week.
Earlier speaking at Pion in Skardu, the prime minister said Pakistan firmly believes in peaceful resolution of issues, "but our efforts for peace should never be construed as a sign of weakness".
Addressing Northern Light Infantry (NLI) troops in the Shiok valley, near Line of Control (LoC), he said: "It must be kept in mind that Pakistan is invincible and is fully capable of defending its territorial integrity. In the wake of any aggression, we are capable of giving a befitting reply."
Referring to Pakistan's committed endeavours for peace, the prime minister said, despite provocations, Pakistan has been able to avert a devastating war. He said, lives of one billion people could not be put at stake.
He referred to the provocative postures on the borders witnessed in the recent past, and said, "we maintained our cool and determination, despite the fact that efforts were made to get Pakistan involved in a war.
"We still remain committed that instead of opting for war, conflicts should be resolved through means of dialogue."
He said, "our religion has ordained us to side with peaceful means."
The prime minister said, Pakistan has been able to avert a catastrophic war, which could have brought vast destruction and devastation.
The prime minister, on the occasion, lauded the high morale of the troops and announced that the legal heirs of martyrs on this side of the Line of Control (LoC) would be given a house in the city of their choice, besides compensation of Rs 0.5 million. Moreover, he said, the wounded soldier who has been rendered disabled would also be given Rs 0.5 million by the government.
He said, it has also been decided that the government would undertake education of the offsprings of the martyrs.
In this behalf, he disclosed that the boarding houses of Boonji and Gilgit would be upgraded while a students hostel will be set up in Skardu.
Besides Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Pervez Musharraf, those who accompanied the prime minister during his daylong visit included Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz, Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Minister Lt Gen (retd) Majeed Malik, Information and Culture Minister Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Labour and Manpower Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed and Religious Affairs Minister Raja Zafarul Haq.
"I have repeatedly stated that it is easier to start a war, while it is difficult to remain steadfast to the commitment of no-war. I still believe that for acquisition of high human values, the better and effective strategy is not to opt for war," he said.
During the past, he stated, Pakistan had been thrust with three wars. "In all these wars, both the countries lost immensely, and gained nothing."
He referred to the glorious Islamic teachings and said, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never started a war. Instead, the Last Messenger of God (PBUH) had always preached solution of issues by way of dialogue. He (PBUH) never ever started a war, while these were thrust upon the Muslims.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH), he said, always taught His followers to always imbibe traits of sobriety and patience. But, at the same time, he did not remain averse to preparations for defence.-APP
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