Says Pakistan can’t be expected to bring Taliban to the table and kill them at the same time
Lamenting the largely cold response to his country’s peace proposals, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged the international community to play its role to stop a dangerous slide towards what he warned was a Pakistan-India crisis.
“Clearly, there is a real and present threat to peace and security in South Asia. The international community can no longer pretend that it does not exist,” Nawaz said while addressing a gathering at the US Institute of Peace on Friday as he wrapped up his four-day long tour of the US.
In US, Nawaz will expose India’s terror sponsorship
Nawaz noted how the positive momentum, gathered immediately after Narendra Modi’s election as Indian premier, had come to a screeching halt when India cancelled the foreign secretary level talks in August 2014 in over a “flimsy excuse”.
Relations have deteriorated since, the premier lamented, noting how the National Security Adviser-level talks were scuttled by India this year followed by an escalation of hostile exchanges accompanied by ceasefire violations along the border. Recent anti-Pakistan actions by Hindu extremists in Mumbai have further exacerbated tensions in the region.
While rejecting his proposal for dialogue – made at the UN General Assembly in late September, Nawaz warned that India was adopting dangerous military doctrines by engaging in a major arms build-up. “This will compel Pakistan to take several counter measures to preserve credible deterrence.”
PM Nawaz underscores need for national unity
“It [international community] must play a role to stop the slide towards a dangerous Pakistan-India crisis by preventing India’s belligerent actions rather than Pakistan’s defensive responses.”
Nawaz also referred to India’s sponsorship of terrorism in Pakistan. “A normal and stable relationship between Pakistan-India can be built by adherence to the principles of the UN Charter, especially the principle of sovereign equality of States and non-interference in their internal affairs and the right of peoples to self- determination.”
“There is no alternative for the two countries, but to resume a comprehensive dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Pakistan an indispensable friend to US: Nawaz
Can’t talk and kill Taliban at the same time
Nawaz, while pointing out the importance of peace in Afghanistan for Pakistan, said that the only solution for over a decade of war was a negotiated peace.
“Over the past 14 years, a military solution has been elusive. We believe that it is unlikely to be achieved in the future,” he said.
The premier added that peace in Pakistan was linked to peace in Afghanistan. “Pakistan’s priority is to defeat the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has also found bases on Afghan territory,” Nawaz said, adding “Peace within Afghanistan will enable Pakistan to eliminate the TTP threat.”
US most relevant country to intervene in Kashmir dispute: PM
He also hinted that the leak about Mullah Omar’s death had done more than just cancel the first Kabul-Afghan Taliban bilateral talks which Pakistan had hosted. “In their succession struggle, their [Taliban] default option was to revert to a fighting mode.”
Pakistan US’ indispensible friend
The prime minister, who had a two hour long meeting with US President Barack Obama on Thursday, said that Pakistan was an old and indispensable friend of the United States.
A protester tried to disrupt Nawaz’s speech, raising a banner and shouting slogans.
Pentagon chief lauds Pakistan’s sacrifices
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday lauded the government’s efforts to achieve a national political consensus on fighting terrorism.
US defence secretary lauds Pakistan’s efforts in war on terror
While hosting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Pentagon on Thursday, Carter appreciated the progress made by Pakistan in degrading terrorist networks. He recognised the sacrifices made by Pakistan’s military, law enforcement personnel and civilians at the forefront in the fight against terrorism.
Nawaz appreciated the Pakistan-US security cooperation that has bolstered Pakistan’s counter-terrorism capability. He also noted the successful cooperation on retrograde movement of US cargo through Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.