Pakistan wants improved ties with India, Afghanistan: Ashraf
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Saturday said Pakistan desires better relations with all its neighbours including India and Afghanistan to keep the region stable and peaceful.
In an interview to a private television channel, he said there is realisation in the international community that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear power.
“It is not in the interest of the world that tension continues in our region,” he added.
The premier said Pakistan and India made efforts to normalize relations but some incident happens affecting the bilateral ties.
“I said in British Parliament that we desire peaceful relations with our neighbours and we want India to recognise this.”
He said Kashmir is the core issue which is cause of tense relations with India and Pakistan’s viewpoint is that Kashmir issue should be resolved according to aspirations of Kashmiri people and the UN Security Council’s resolutions.
Pakistan never refuses to talk and always preferred to have dialogue with India, he added.
To a question about ties with Afghanistan, the prime minister said Pakistan is a unique example as it took care of so many Afghan refugees on humanitarian basis when the economic conditions were not so good.
“We are proud of that help and we undertook it as our responsibility as Afghans are our neighbours and Muslims and we needed to take care of them.”
He said Pakistan wants better relations with Afghanistan and in his first meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and British Prime Minister David Cameron, it was agreed that peace should prevail in Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan sacrificed a lot in war against terrorism. It was Pakistan’s own war as its cities, towns, mosques and public places were targeted, he added.
Ashraf said the international community with its collective wisdom wanted to resolve the problem of terrorism through negotiations to ensure peace.
He said it is heartening that democratically elected civilian government is going to complete its five year tenure which has strengthened the democracy. “Now all political parties have to go to the court of the people.”
Talking about achievements of his government, he said, “We restored powers of the Parliament which were usurped by dictator, promoted tolerance, formed a coalition government and run it successfully. This is success of democracy.”
He expressed confidence that the PPP would get another mandate from the people in next elections on the basis of its programmes like Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), for making the country self-reliant in food, raising salaries and pensions and for carrying out development projects despite focusing on challenge of terrorism.
“We inherited many challenges from the previous government and when we came it was said that terrorists were only 40 kilometers from the capital and will take it over. Flag of Pakistan was taken down from Swat.”
But the government reversed the situation and ensured that 2.5 million displaced people returned to their homes with dignity, he mentioned. “We will tell the people about all these achievements.”
He said it is also credit of Pakistan People’s Party that it elected a person like him as prime minister who was from middle class and his family has no political background.
Ashraf said it is also achievement of the government that it appointed opposition leader as Chairman of Public Accounts Committee and also appointed a person as Chairman Election Commission who was nominated by the opposition.
He said it should also be appreciated that the sit in of thousands of people led by Dr Tahirul Qadri in Islamabad ended peacefully and nobody was hurt.