Monday, August 22

Nawaz Sharif on Pak-India relations

Complete text of speech made by former prime minister and President PML-N Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at a function organised by the SAFMA. This turned out to be controversial for more than one reason. Later, he tried to clarify it as well.

"I had requested Imtiaz Sahab to let me speak in the beginning instead at the last. It is kind of Imtiaz Sahab that he had invited me here. You are seated here. I am pleased to see guests from Hindustan. Prior to me many beautiful talks had been delivered. First Imtiaz Sahab, and then Dr Sahab has said many good things. I think that such a condition should exist between two countries. This environment will get further better. Then certainly we will resolve our issues, will increase our cooperation as well, will progress too, moreover prosperity will be actualised, our issues will be resolved also. Both countries will resolve their respective issues besides settling matters of mutual concern too. And Imtiaz Alam Sahab’s dream ‘Let us join hands to write a new story’ will be materialised as well. And then Building Bridges in the Sub-Continent. Usually for politicians Building Bridges are not on rivers. I understand that this is not a good beginning. Imtiaz Sahab is working for long. SAFMA’s others members are involved in this struggle for long. For peace and brotherhood in this region, and especially in your ‘writing a new story’ I was ready to pen another new account. I was not aware that Musharraf was writing another narrative, which was in dire contradiction to the existent tale. It was so painful and sad that for the first time in the history of Pakistan and Hindustan that two prime ministers, as per your assertion, had come very close to each other and they had developed very good understanding. Hindustan n PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to Pakistan. I respect him a lot, and pray for his good health. I think he was a brave man, and he himself expressed his desire that why we should not resolve Pakistan’s issues, find solution to problems, make a move to progress, and listen to each other’s troubles, understand, and make earnest efforts to resolve them. I liked his talk to the core of my heart. A day came when he arrived here. When he came, I think it was a historic day in the history of Pakistan and Hindustan. Upon
his arrival, he expressed a desire, and talked with sincerity. I was impressed by his truthfulness and his face depicted his honesty, his eyes stood witness to it. He had fairness in his talk. I am in the knowledge of the things and I have gone through the process myself. We talked face-to-face. Prior to this, we used to meet in conferences. I had meetings with his predecessor as well. I have talking to Narsima Rao as well since he was prime minister of Hindustan at that time. When I became prime minister of Pakistan it was the fag end of 1990. I met him and he talked about Pakistan’s economic progress and fiscal policy. He especially mentioned that your (my) economic reforms order was very popular in Hindustan. Indian business community repeatedly asks to implement the policy which is actualised in Pakistan, which included abolishing exchange control, and heading to the free market economy, and he said he wanted to study your (my) model. I said it was pleasing to me. The same we want. We wish to compete in the economic race, do not want military or defence rivalry. I think it has been a bad luck of Hindustan that we had tried to compete in arms race. If Hindustan had been running after MIG 29, then we chased F16. Hindustan purchased tanks, and we made it compulsory upon us to follow the suit. Because of this, our social sectors, our development areas were adversely affected to a huge extent. Our lagged behind in education, health services, industrial development. Huge sums of money were spent on the defence built-up. We had a tradition that if anything goes wrong in Hindustan, its onus should put on Pakistan. If some thing untoward happened in Pakistan, Hindustan was to get the blame. This has been the tit-for-tat, whether there was a reality to this or not. You and I have been seeing that we spent our 60 years in this. How much this damaged us! We missed our target. Here Imtiaz talked of the Motorways, which was my first project as prime minister in 1990 which was launched by us, and completed it though we did not get time. In the first tenure, we got two years, and in the second two-and-a-half years. You saw that we completed it in the second term. It could have been done earlier provided our stint would not have been disrupted. I think that Motorways could have been constructed earlier. In the ECO meeting, I talked to the Afghan president. Said in the Tashkent meeting, that why the Motorways is not extended to Kabul. Half of it should be financed by you, half by us. The project was that on one it would be stretched to Gwadar, and from second point to Tashkent. But Motorways could not be extended to Tashkent but I was sent to Jeddah. If I would not have reached Jeddah, then Motorways would have stretched to Tashkent. It was our commitment to our country. It would have very good if Hindustan would have constructed the same Motorways and take it to Calcutta (Kolkata) and carried out such a trade or business. Because of which I am sure that we had resolved our issues and problems; Jammu and Kashmir dispute could have been resolved simultaneously. I am certain that this would have solves the problem. Vajpayee said to me ‘Pakistan takes Jammu-Kashmir very seriously. It is not that we have come here, and sign a declaration. We want to resolve the Jammu-Kashmir problem. I believe that year 1999 should be declared ‘year of resolution of Kashmir’. I was hugely impressed after listening to Vajpayee’s this discourse. A person has this earnest desire in his heart that he wants to resolve the most important issue between two countries. And we will come close to each other after resolving our all problems.
Our religion teaches us to keep the relations healthy with our neighbours as they have the foremost rights over us. We must know whether or not they have slept hungry, if so, the responsibility lies on you, and if you could do some thing, why did you not do it. It is applied to the neighbours as well, but also applies to the bordering countries, and the same principle applies to the countries as well.
We hadthe same culture and heritage, and belonged to the same society. When you spoke in Punjabi, I wanted to do the same. There are many people in Pakistan who are known after the names of cities situated in India like Hafeez Jalandhri, Muhammad Ali Amritsari and many of them are called Ludhianvi. My parents migrated from Amritsar, but I was born in Pakistan. We are from the same place. Many a large number of people migrated from Pakistan to India who are known as Lahoris, Gujratis, Sialkotis, Lyallpuris and Kasuris. There is also a Lahore Sweet Mart. What is all this? There is one border between us.
We are members of the same society and share the same background, culture and even the dishes and vegetables. Like you, we also eat ‘aaloo gosht’ and it has been wrongly attributed to me that I eat ‘siri payee’ only which I never do. When all these things common between us, then we must conduct trade with each other and develop our infrastructure besides resolving the long standing issues including water and Kashmir dispute.
We should come out of the old mind-set that we had got entangled ourselves into by some of the people who also lived in our society. We should take the initiative to hammer out the differences in joints sittings, he said, for which he found the Indian leadership more willing than him in resolving issues between the two countries. I was reluctant to take this initiative fearing the people may misinterpret him, he further added.
I was glad to know that Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted to improve relationship with Pakistan, but the Indian prime minister complained that on one side the Lahore Declaration was being signed but on the other he was stabbed in the back through Kargil misadventure. I agreed to him as he (Vajpayee) was justified in expressing such concerns. This adventure caused a severe damage to the country but whom should I complain to and who is responsible for it?
Before this we had launched atomic explosions. I was grateful to India for playing a major role in making Pakistan an atomic state. It was better that both the countries did not reach this stage, but after it did happen, it was noticeable how the two prime minister sat together for bringing peace to the region.
New ways of negotiations always remained open and they had come closer to each other, but who did create distance between them was another story.
I appreciate the Indian government for probing the Kargil debacle through a commission. A day will come here as well when a commission will probe the war, and then doors will be closed forever.
I also appreciate Imtiaz Alam and pray for the success of the process.
The GDP growth rate of India is good. We had also the same growth rate in the past and I wished to resume the same by sorting out all the differences.
It is in the Holy Quran, that he is ‘Rubbul A’ala’meen’ not ‘Rubbul Muslimeen. The demeanour should be of dealing with individuals, which will do good to the progress of both countries.

No comments: