Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan wants to have “permanent peace” with India through dialogue as war is not an option for either of the countries to resolve the Kashmir issue, according to a media report on Saturday.
Speaking to a delegation of students from Harvard University, Mr. Sharif also said that sustainable peace in the region was “linked to the resolution of the Kashmir issue as per the United Nations resolutions”, The News International newspaper reported.
“We want permanent peace with India through dialogue as war is not an option for either of the countries,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
Relations between India and Pakistan have often been strained over the Kashmir issue and cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
However, the ties between the two countries nosedived after India abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, revoking the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the State into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019.
India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy. India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir “was, is and shall forever” remain an integral part of the country.
India has said it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.
During the interaction, Mr. Sharif pointed out that Islamabad and New Delhi should have competition in trade, economy and improving the conditions of their people.
Pakistan was not an aggressor, but its nuclear assets and the trained Army are deterrence, he said, adding that Islamabad spends on its military to protect their frontiers and not for aggression.
In response to a question about Pakistan’s economy and the International Monetary Fund programme, the premier said that the country's economic crisis stem from structural problems along with political instability in the recent decades.