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    Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

    I rarely agree with NS, but I think he got it right on this one

    Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India - Telegraph

    Arms race between Pakistan and India 'must end' says Nawaz Sharif

    From an armchair in Pakistan’s version of the Oval Office, Nawaz Sharif points towards the forested slopes of the Margalla Hills. “They are the foothills of the Himalayas,” says the man who reacquired the rights to this office — and to this view — when he returned for a third stint as prime minister in June.

    This comeback has given Mr Sharif arguably the toughest job in the world: governing a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people, beset by terrorism, economic crisis and a perilous confrontation with India.

    Only last week, the army was hunting for Islamist gunmen in the hills outside Mr Sharif’s window in the capital, Islamabad. Meanwhile, Pakistani and Indian forces are once again clashing along the “Line of Control”, running through the disputed territory of Kashmir, barely 50 miles to the east.

    In his first interview since returning to office, Mr Sharif, calm, deliberate and assured, makes clear that he sees his election victory as a mandate for peace with India. He talks with genuine feeling about the need for reconciliation with Pakistan’s oldest enemy.

    “There will be progress and there has to be progress,” says Mr Sharif. “If we have to prosper, there has to be progress on this.”

    He says: “We didn’t have any India-bashing slogans in the elections. We don’t believe in such slogans. There have been such slogans in the past — 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago — but not now. In fact, I very clearly spoke about good relations with India even before the elections were happening.”

    He goes on: “I made my position very clear: if we get a mandate, we will make sure we pick up the threads from where we left off in 1999 and then reach out to India, sit with them, resolve all our outstanding issues, including the issue of Kashmir, through peaceful means.”

    In fact, the 63-year-old politician wants to pick up the threads of his last government in almost every respect. That premiership ended when he was thrown out of power and into jail by his army chief, General Pervez Musharraf, in 1999. This bruising downfall lumbered Mr Sharif with the traditional penalty of political failure in Pakistan — a battery of criminal convictions (all overturned), six months behind bars and seven years’ exile in London and Saudi Arabia.

    Having achieved political resurrection by winning the election in May, Mr Sharif might be expected to pose as a new man, wiser and more mature than the politician who was cast out of office. In fact, he does not follow this script. On his telling, Mr Sharif offers continuity not change; after all, he believes his previous governments were success stories. “We did deliver,” he says. “We were able to meet the expectations of the people to some extent. That is why we were re-elected in 1997 and that is why we have been re-elected in 2013.”

    “If I take you back to Nineties, our party came up with very bold reforms in the country, economic reforms. They were really revolutionary reforms.”

    During his first premiership between 1990 and 1993, Mr Sharif privatised Pakistan’s banks, insurance companies and key industries. In his mind, he brought the free market not only to his homeland, but to India as well.

    “India was taken aback, frankly. India felt that India must also have same reforms in India as Pakistan,” he says.

    “There was tremendous pressure on the Indian government, I know, that India should also copy the reforms that Pakistan has introduced.”

    So you are not a new man — you are the same Nawaz Sharif who ran Pakistan in the Nineties? “I am the same politician who’s trying to pick up the threads of where I left off,” he replies.

    And you offer continuity not change? “You can call it continuity; you can call it change that still continues and we are now going to make sure that we take it to its logical conclusion.”

    You are carrying on the good work that you did in the Nineties? “That was my humble contribution and I will continue to make that humble contribution. We hope that work will also start soon, that we will have a motorway from the northern regions of Pakistan right down to Karachi.”

    Pakistanis who have less than fond memories of Mr Sharif’s premierships might recall how he failed to complete a full term (his first stint ended when the president sacked him for alleged corruption). They might marvel at the chutzpah of leader who simply offers more of the same. But, regardless of the baggage he carries, Mr Sharif has the opportunity presented by a clear election victory. What will be his most important economic reform? Mr Sharif replies that when David Cameron rang with his congratulations, he named his “first three priorities” as “number one economy, number two economy, number three economy”.

    As a businessman in his own right, this should be his strongest subject — but he is not wholly convincing. Mr Sharif offers a long disquisition on how he wants foreign investors, including British companies, to cure Pakistan’s endemic power cuts by building new generating capacity, using the hydro-electric potential of the country’s great rivers.

    Yet Pakistan is a place where dodging energy bills is pursued with the same diligence as tax evasion. Less than 0.5 per cent of the population pays any tax; fabulously rich citizens, including politicians, brazenly avoid contributing to the national treasury. British taxpayers, by contrast, will give £446 million to Pakistan as UK aid in 2015.

    Fixing tax collection is not a top priority for Mr Sharif. “I have not yet discussed this matter because, you see, these are very initial days,” he says.

    “We will have to lower the taxes in the country, the income tax, corporate tax and all the taxes.”

    He adds: “There is a lot of leakage in our taxes, it is said that it’s somewhere between 500 and 1,000 billion rupees (£3 billion to £6 billion).”

    Some people might be surprised you haven’t discussed this problem more than two months after taking office? “It’s not easy to plug this leakage,” replies the prime minister. “We are in the process of doing that. I think this exercise will take some time. We’ve been just been in office for eight to nine weeks. We are very conscious of this problem,” he says, adding that he is most grateful for British aid.

    But Mr Sharif acknowledges that security is essential for economic success. Pakistan’s struggle against radical Islamists, including the Taliban and a host of other extremists, has claimed more lives here than anywhere else in the world. “We are fighting all these elements because look at what they’ve done in different parts of the country,” says Mr Sharif. “More than 40,000 people have lost their lives in this battle against terror.”

    His government will produce a new national security strategy in the next “few weeks”, he says, and the emphasis will shift away from force and towards negotiation with the Taliban.

    “Of course we’re fighting each other,” he says. “I believe that there may be no harm in exploring the other option of having dialogue with them if they’re at all serious, and if we find them serious enough — and if we think that talks can yield positive results.”

    Mr Sharif adds: "Britain had to talk to the IRA and resolve the problem and so to explore this option, I think, is not a bad idea.”

    As for Pakistan’s tortured relations with America, he describes the drone campaign on the Afghan frontier as the No 1 “irritant”, adding: “The drones are counter-productive, they are violating our sovereignty and we must respect each other’s territorial sovereignty and if the drones are challenging our sovereignty this is not a fair thing.” Drone strikes might indeed end on Mr Sharif’s watch, if only because America has eliminated almost every target.

    The good news is that Mr Sharif is the first prime minister in Pakistan’s history to take over from an elected government that lasted a full term. Today, the country is ruled by democratic politicians according to the constitution, not sinister generals.

    If Mr Sharif achieves peace with India and a settlement with the Taliban — two monumental ifs — he could yet be a transforming leader. He seems aware of the burden of responsibility. “I have to make sure we do the right things,” he says. “We have to make sure we tread the right path, pursue the right policies — and not make any mistakes.”
    All people are equal, but some are more equal than others. We call these "corporations."

    #2
    Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

    For the past many years its India bashing Pakistan. From our side its always . Its good that he has realized that its about time to improve relationship with India, but is the army also on the same page? After all they are the ones who'd lose relevance if the relationship between the two countries improve.
    “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." Albert Einstein

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      #3
      Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

      If he really said that then it puts him at higher moral ground and puts India at back foot. It is a very bold and good foreign policy step from him.

      I hope it goes well with establishment in Pakistan.

      But at the same time he will have to severe his ties with extremist groups if he wants to be taken seriously.
      Tu bhi villain ban sakta tha, "BILLA" ban sakta tha.....

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

        The previous history hasent been good, so not hopeful for any rapprochement in the near future.

        Vaypayee's Lahore yatra and Kargil, Zardari's peace overtures and Mumbai, Nawaz Sharif's current statements and LOC incidents.
        “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." Albert Einstein

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          #5
          uss biyan saay moot achi Jis saay ati hoo karobar maay kotahi
          پورا مسلمان خود نہیں اور مجھے کافر کہتا ہے

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

            Bonga Sharif is not saying anything new. Most sensible people incl. IK, Zardari, ANP etc. want the same

            But for any lasting peace there has to be reciprocation from the other side plus we don't know yet if the military establishment is on the same page on this.

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

              Originally posted by GoldenAsif View Post
              yet if the military establishment is on the same page on this.
              Rest assure, the answer is negative. Friendly relationship with India means liquidation of army. Army will never accept this at any cost. Foundation of army is based on hatred with India. Abhi Kahmir lena baaqi hay

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

                Yes Corruption is because of bashing India
                Yes Load Shedding is because of bashing India


                Lulz

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

                  Originally posted by Dhoti Main Dhamaka View Post
                  uss biyan saay moot achi Jis saay ati hoo karobar maay kotahi
                  Originally posted by waleedhbk View Post
                  Yes Corruption is because of bashing India
                  Yes Load Shedding is because of bashing India


                  Lulz
                  my thoughts exactly

                  (mlnus the lulz)
                  We are all in the same game, just different levels•
                  Dealing with the same hell, just different devils•

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

                    Originally posted by GoldenAsif View Post
                    Bonga Sharif is not saying anything new. Most sensible people incl. IK, Zardari, ANP etc. want the same

                    But for any lasting peace there has to be reciprocation from the other side plus we don't know yet if the military establishment is on the same page on this.
                    Chuckles!

                    Mr. Prime Minister should worry less about Public mannerism, and concern himself with fufilling the campaign promises such as Oh I don't know...Load Shedding to be finished within months for instance. When people don't have work, people will talk a 1000 miles a minute about any topic under the Sun. Keep people busy, give them jobs and make them prosper. Walk the walk, hombre.
                    Boycott Indian economy. Buy Pakistani!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

                      If Pakistan is to propser: It will need stop electing the same tried, failed, retried, epic failed politicians. Better yet, they'll need to stop participating in the elections out of shame if there is any left. No? Ok then some other practical steps...

                      Mr. Prime Minister will have to:

                      1. Bring all his assets in Pakistan to invest in the nation, and rejuvenate the economy. 40% of the looted wealth should suffice to give a lot of frustrated youths jobs so they can support their families and support the Democracy that is their future.
                      2. Pursue the ill-gotten wealth of the other party heads. Let the fervor of action meet the fervor of fiery speeches made pre-Election 2013. Swiss Govt. awaits...
                      3. Select Ministers based on Merit and Proven record of growth in their relative fields. So they can actually drive results, instead of driving bullet-proof Benzs and Bimmers.
                      4. End Family Dynastyism.
                      5. Fulfill campaign promises.
                      6. End Riba in banking sector.
                      7. Refer to Numbers 1, 2 and 6 religiously!!
                      Boycott Indian economy. Buy Pakistani!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

                        If Pakistan's relationship improves in the neighborhood (Afghanistan and India), neither will Pakistan need to have to rely on 'strategic assets' to further their regional goals nor will India and Afghanistan sponsor terrorism within Pakistan hence resulting in reduced external/internal threats. As a result of this people could demand trimming the army and utilize the freed resources for the betterment of the people. Will this be acceptable for the army? For the past 55 years the boogeyman was India and now its US and Taleban.
                        “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." Albert Einstein

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

                          Improvement of relations that has 50+ years of mistrust cannot be undertaken in one term. What can be done in one term is to get rid of corruption, employ on merit, get rid of excessive perks for public officials and designate those funds for public welfare instead. This will take effect much sooner. The public itself will then place trust in Elected Governments, and buy less into the rhetoric of Armed Forces (There's very little rhetoric, just too much incompetence in the shape of Generals who're only good for stomping grounds at home; little action towards external forces who violate the Sovereignty night and day.)
                          Boycott Indian economy. Buy Pakistani!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Nawaz Sharif: If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India

                            Originally posted by Sachaydino View Post
                            Rest assure, the answer is negative. Friendly relationship with India means liquidation of army. Army will never accept this at any cost. Foundation of army is based on hatred with India. Abhi Kahmir lena baaqi hay
                            do you think aise kabhi nahi hoga ke army bhi support karegi? I don't understand peace talks were going to happen sab theek chal raha tha then these loc incidents and both countries now on talking terms. Aam insaan ka kya hoga jise control nahi hai? Will the people of both countries ever get to visit the ancient treasures of the other like Mohenjodaro and Harappa.

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