Sharif for warmer ties with India

Says tackling terror and economic revival top priorities for the PML-N govt
ISLAMABAD (TIP): Nawaz Sharif, poised for a record third term as Pakistan Prime Minister after his party’s emphatic victory in the landmark General Election, has sought “warmer ties” with India and said his government would devise a national policy to tackle the problem of terrorism. “We will contact every party for the purpose of forming our policy on terrorism,” Sharif said during an interaction with a group of foreign journalists at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Lahore on Monday. Referring to the attack on PML-N leader Sanaullah Zehri in Balochistan, Sharif said it would be wrong to say that terrorism had not affected PML-N. He said the PML-N government would respect the mandate given to parties by the people from the areas where they have won. Claiming that Pakistan will become the Asian tiger under his leadership, Sharif said economic revival was a top priority for the PML-N government.

Sharif was greeted by world leaders, including the Saudi royal family and the British premier. Sharif expressed resolve to have cordial ties with all neighbors, including Iran, Afghanistan, China and India. Sharif called upon Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf to respect the mandate of the people and accept the results of the elections. Sharif said he would be “very happy” to invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan for his oath-taking ceremony as the new Premier. “We will be very happy to invite him. I got a call from him (Singh) yesterday. We had a long chat on the phone and then he extended an invitation to me and I extended an invitation to him,” said Sharif. He said it would be an honour if Manmohan Singh was present at the swearing-in. He further said he hoped to meet the Indian Prime Minister as soon as possible as he was keen on forging good relations between the two countries.

The PML-N chief had earlier said he is keen on resuming the India-Pakistan peace process that was interrupted in 1999 by then Army chief Pervez Musharraf, who ousted Sharif’s government in a military coup. Prime Minister Singh had yesterday lost no time in congratulating Sharif on his election victory. Responding to questions on the drone strikes, Sharif said he would discuss the issue with the US leadership. Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday telephoned Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif and congratulated him on winning the historic polls, according to Zardari expressed hope that Sharif would be able to strengthen the democratic process during his political tenure.

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