India’s lack of engagement and reciprocity cost ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif dearly, Pakistan’s interior minister has said.
“Sharif paid a lot of cost for his policy on India. He was categorised as ‘Modi ka yaar’ (Modi’s friend) by Opposition forces for showing a lot of restraint and his commitment to peace with India. India has disappointed us; it has not reciprocated,” Ahsan Iqbal, who is also the deputy secretary-general of the Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League, said.
He said this while delivering a lecture at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London on Tuesday, according to news agency PTI.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court disqualified Sharif for trying to “fool the people inside and outside the the Parliament” by hiding his assets in the Panama Papers case last year. He has since lashed out at the country’s judiciary and army for interfering in the democratic process.
Responding to a question on how the Pakistan government plans to tackle the Kashmir issue, Iqbal said any solution to the Kashmir issue must be acceptable to all the parties, including the people of Jammu and Kashmir, because continued violence would be a “recipe for instability”.
Iqbal said Pakistan is trying to overcome the trust deficit that exists in the region but India has disappointed Islamabad with unilateral moves like boycotting the SAARC summit which was to be hosted by Islamabad in 2016.
“The present government in India has a certain thinking, where it thinks it can bully Pakistan. That will not work. We must show maturity because the future of more than a billion people who live in South Asia is at stake,” Iqbal said, delivering a lecture at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London on Tuesday.
“India’s gesture of not coming to the SAARC summit was uncalled for; very undiplomatic and very inappropriate for the cause of peace. Such unilateral actions only add to more mistrust. We should try to engage each other at different fora,” he said.
In November, India decided not to attend the SAARC Summit in Islamabad after alleged Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad militants attacked a military camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, killing 18 soldiers.
Flagging the 2008 Mumbai attacks as a “setback” to efforts against “terrorism,” the minister said the attack should have strengthened cooperation between India and Pakistan but instead it became a “trophy” for disruptive elements because it resulted in the peace process being abandoned.
“Peace can only be achieved on a reciprocal basis. One side alone cannot achieve peace. The solution to all regional problems lies in greater collaboration and cooperation within the region,” he said.