PM Raises LoC Violations In J&K With Sharif

PM Raises LoC Violations In J&K With Sharif

12 December 2013
The Daily Excelsior


New Delhi: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today articulated India’s concerns over recent “disturbances” on the Line of Control (LoC) when Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab Province and brother of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, met him here. This was stated by Shahbaz Sharif who pressed the need for resolving all problems, including terrorism and Kashmir, through peaceful dialogue, overcoming the “baggage of the past”. Shahbaz Sharif, who is number two in ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), insisted “war is no option” in resolving the problems between the two countries. Singh “came out with observation on disturbances on the LoC in the recent months in Jammu and Kashmir,” Sharif told a group of reporters, adding “I obviously replied”. He did not elaborate but there have been a series of violations of the ceasefire on LoC by the Pakistani side in the last few months. Sharif said he conveyed his views on Sir Creek, Siachen, water and Kashmir and emphasised that these issues need to be addressed. When pointed out that cross-border terrorism remains a stumbling block in improvement of ties, the Pakistani leader said the two countries should cooperate to fight the menace and stamp it out so that there is peace in this part of the world and flow of investments and creation of jobs. “Pakistan itself is a victim of militancy and terrorism. We obviously condemn all shades and forms of terrorism. We are facing this in severe form,” he said. “Without defeating this menace, there cannot be progress in this region,” he added. The issue of ceasefire violations has caused a fresh spell of chill in India-Pakistan relations. During a meeting between Singh and Nawaz Sharif in New York in September, the two leaders had decided that Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) would meet soon to address this issue. However, this is yet to happen. Asked why the DGMOs have not met even three months after the two leaders agreed, Shahbaz Sharif said he was not aware of the reasons. “I reiterate that DGMOs should meet as soon as possible. We are absolutely fine with it…Let’s hope they meet.” Contending that Nawaz Sharif had got the mandate to improve relations with India, he said the “wise men” of the two countries should “discuss in tandem” and resolve their problems for making the region peaceful. “Both the countries have been unruly neighbours. Now it is time to live like friends in peace and promoting progress and prosperity…. “We need to try to climb over the baggage of the past and look to the future, try to resolve issues and problems through peaceful dialogue. Problems of the past only brought miseries, they brought nothing. It is time for trade and progress,” he said, adding this was the crux of his meeting with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. “We have to resolve problems peacefully. War is not an option. But it is also not an option to brush problems under the carpet,” the Pakistani leader said. Listing commerce, investments, energy and people-to-people exchanges as areas for cooperation, he said the two countries have shared history and “have a lot to do”. Meanwhile, Manmohan Singh today got a formal invite from his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif for visiting that country, which was accepted. The invite was handed over to Singh by Sharif’s Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi here. The invite was delivered when Sharif’s brother and Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif met Singh for about half an hour. Shahbaz Sharif told a group of reporters that the Pakistan Prime Minister’s goodwill message was also handed over to Singh along with the invitation. Asked about Singh’s response, he said the Indian Prime Minister accepted the invitation. “Let us see”. Pakistani leaders have been extending invitations to Singh for the last few years but the Indian leader has said his visit would depend on the situation on the ground in terms of terrorism and the LoC. Pakistan High Commission said the message of goodwill from Nawaz Sharif emphasised “Pakistan’s desire to forge friendly and cooperative relations with India in the interest of peace and prosperity of the people of the two countries and of the region.”