‘Willing to engage with India for sake of prosperity, development’: PM Shehbaz

Shehbaz flood

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said that Pakistan was ready and “absolutely willing” to engage with India for the sake of prosperity and development as both sides of the border can not afford to deal with massive challenges of poverty and unemployment amid meagre resources. He, however, said that the onus remained on India to take the necessary steps to engage in result-oriented solutions.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was addressing the 6th summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. During his speech, the premier said that Pakistan desired peaceful relations with all its neighbors, including India.

In his speech, the Prime Minister focused on peace among nations to hit the goal of prosperity as he addressed the leaders of the multinational forum gathered to discuss cooperation towards promoting peace, security, and stability in Asia.

PM Sharif stressed that the people deserved the resources to be diverted to their education and health.

“I want to leave behind a legacy of peace and progress for the prosperity of the coming generations of our region. Pakistan’s first priority at the moment is to revive a rapid and equitable economy.”

On Kashmir

Highlighting India’s “unabated atrocities” in Jammu and Kashmir for the last seven decades, PM Shehbaz urged the international community to take notice of India’s “bullet over ballot” policy.

“India has become a threat to its minorities, neighbours and the entire region,” he said. He said Pakistan was “absolutely ready and willing for a discussion with Indian counterparts to promote trade and investment provided they showed the sincerity of purpose”.

Pakistan slams Modi for claiming to have ‘resolved’ Kashmir issue

On Afghanistan

On Afghanistan, PM Shehbaz said that the four decades of the conflict took a heavy toll on the country as well as its neighbouring Pakistan.

He said: “Pakistan suffered immense damage to its peace and security with serious consequences borne in the shape of 80,000 casualties and billions of dollars in financial losses.”

The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that after immense sacrifices, Pakistan had now become able to control extremism and terrorism on its soil besides managing to host four million Afghan refugees.

“Prosperous and stable Afghanistan is not only in the interest of Pakistan but also for the international community,” he said.

On Floods

While speaking about the devastation brought on by the catastrophic floods, PM Shehbaz pointed out that the country was bearing the brunt of climate change despite its less than one per cent carbon emissions.

Sharif thanked the countries that stepped forward in extending assistance to Pakistan to carry out the relief and rehabilitation activities in the flood-affected areas. He also termed as encouraging the upscale $816 million flash appeal by the United Nations launched to meet the daunting challenge of heavy losses incurred by flash floods.

The Prime Minister expressed confidence that Pakistan was “determined and committed” to emerging stronger after the flood disaster.

“Pakistan, with the support of its people and the friendly countries, will come out of this problem,” he said.

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