ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif recently traveled to the United Arab Emirates and requested Emirati President Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to promote communication with India. He also promised to be honest if a channel were to open up with the archrivals.
In an interview with the Al-Arabiya news channel, Mr. Sharif acknowledged that he had asked Al-Nahyan for assistance in the talks while also stating that Pakistan had “learned its lesson” and was “ready for peace.”
“I have asked Mohammed bin Zayed since he is a Pakistani brother and the UAE is a friendly nation. He also has solid contacts with India, which makes him a very valuable player in efforts to open up communication between the two nations. “I promise my word of honor that we will speak to Indians sincerely,” he stated.
The meeting took place on January 12 in Abu Dhabi during the prime minister’s two-day trip to the UAE. The objective of Mr. Sharif’s third trip to the UAE since taking office in April was to develop cross-border business, trade, and investment connections.
Mr. Sharif informed the interviewer that “we have learned our lesson” and desired to live in peace after recalling the three wars with India and the poison in relations and hardships that were brought on to the people. That offer, though, was subject to “real difficulties” being solved. He made particular mention of the Kashmir conflict.
He reminded about the ongoing “flagrant human rights violations” in the occupied region and the 2019 revocation of the autonomy of Kashmir, saying, “My message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that let us sit down on the table and have serious and sincere talks to resolve our burning issues like Kashmir.”
He also thought back to how minorities had been persecuted in India. Mr. Sharif stressed that Pakistan was “more than eager” for peace and stated, “India must halt this to send a message to the world that the country was ready for discussions.
Later, in a tweet, the prime minister’s spokesperson recalled that Mr. Sharif has consistently maintained that negotiations cannot begin until India retracts its “illegal action of August 5, 2019” and that any resolution to the Kashmir conflict must be in line with UN resolutions and the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.