Nawaz Sharif calls for talks with militants, good links with neighbours

Islamabad, Aug 19 (IANS) Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Monday invited the militants for dialogue to end the bloodshed in the country, while stressing the desire for cordial relations with all neighbouring countries including India.

"My government is determined to tackle the problem of terrorism either through dialogues or with full might of the state and all state institutions are on the same page on the issue," Nawaz Sharif told the nation over radio and television networks in his first address to the nation after becoming prime minister for the third time, reported Xinhua.

He said the government has more than one option to tackle the problem but wisdom demands that there is no loss of innocent lives. He invited those treading the path of terrorism to dialogues to end the vicious cycle of bloodshed.

The prime minister expressed the resolve of the government to eliminate the menace of terrorism, improve economy, address power crisis and pursue good neighbourly relations with all countries of the region, including India, for regional peace and prosperity.

"Pakistan is today facing serious challenges like terrorism endangering the very survival of the country and worst kind of load-shedding that has paralyzed the economy," he said.

Talking about relations with India, he said Pakistan and India will have to put their heads together so that they can address common issues like poverty and ignorance.

"History bears testimony to the fact that progress and development of a nation is deeply linked to cordial relations with neighbours. It is because of this that we want good relations with all neighbours including India."

He said he has always wanted good relations with India and people supported his contention during recent elections.

He said both countries should realize that instead of wasting their energies and resources on wars, they should wage war against poverty, ignorance and disease. He said the nation is fully prepared to defend the motherland along with its valiant armed forces.

The prime minister said Pakistan will have to pursue a strategy on Afghanistan that highlights the bright face of the country in the comity of nations.

He said the government has a clear cut position on US drone attacks, which are violation of Pakistan's sovereignty. He has directly communicated this to US Secretary of State John Kerry and urged him to stop these attacks. He said the UN secretary-general has also expressed concern over killing of peaceful civilians in these attacks.

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