This is the time to work for peace, Sharif tells India, Pakistan

January 13th, 2009 - 8:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz SharifIslamabad, Jan 13 (IANS) Former Pakistan prime minister and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif Tuesday called upon the governments of Pakistan and India to jointly probe the Mumbai attacks and resume the peace process. “Pakistan and India should jointly probe the Mumbai attacks and immediately resume the composite dialogue,” Sharif, who also heads the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), told journalists here.

Sharif, the first senior politician to say that the lone survivor of the Mumbai attacks Ajmal Amir Kasab was a Pakistani, said this was not the time to raise war slogans. Rather, this was the time for both countries to work for the betterment of relations and peace in the region.

“This is important for the people of both the countries and for the development of the region,” Sharif, who was prime minister in 1998 when Pakistan tested its nuclear weapon soon after India, said.

The peace process between the two countries came to a grinding halt in the wake of the Nov 26-29 Mumbai terror attack in which more than 170 people were killed.

Urging India to “hold dialogue with Pakistan instead of giving threats”, he said: “War is not a solution; rather it will increase problems.”

Sharif, who initiated a peace dialogue with India after the famous bus journey by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999 but was strongly criticised for the Kargil conflict which he blames on former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, is also scheduled to meet Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz.

Prince Muqrin is in Pakistan to help bring about a rapprochement between Sharif’s PML-N and the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party led by President Asif Ali Zardari.

Reports said Prince Muqrin will meet Zardari and other officials and urge them to take steps to reduce tensions with India.

“Saudi Arabia wants de-escalation of tension between India and Pakistan,” Sharif said when asked about the purpose of the visit.

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