‘Turning a new page’ Nawaz to Modi: Let’s turn similarities into strengths

Published: May 27, 2014
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We should remove fears, mistrust and misgivings about each other, said PM Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP

We should remove fears, mistrust and misgivings about each other, said PM Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: 

Soon after his arrival in New Delhi, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ascension to power represented ‘a great opportunity’ for the neighbours to forge a new era in their troubled relationship.

“This could help in turning a new page in our relations […] This is a chance to reach out to each other. Both governments have a strong mandate,” he told NDTV in an interview shortly before the inauguration, according to a transcript provided by the Pakistan High Commission.

“Both countries should rid the region of instability and insecurity that has plagued us for decades. We should remove fears, mistrust and misgivings about each other.”

Premier Nawaz, who is to hold bilateral talks with Modi today (Tuesday), said that the neighbours should use their common heritage to help overcome their differences. “No two nations have ever possessed so much of cultural and traditional similarities as India and Pakistan. Why not turn the similarities into our strengths?”

He promised to pick up the threads of a failed peace process which went on during his second term in office — which coincided with the last BJP government in India. In 1999, the then Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee rode a bus to Lahore to sign an accord with Nawaz, but three months later the two countries nearly went to war over Kargil.

Separately, in an interview with Hindustan Times, Premier Nawaz said he would be happy to have Indians invest in Pakistan and offered them high returns on their investment. “If Indians come [to invest], they will find Pakistani markets very attractive, with returns as high as 30%.”

The online edition of the Indian newspaper mentioned that Indian companies such as the Adani Group had proposed producing electricity to be sold to Pakistan, but such proposals had not taken off. According to the report, “Sharif once again reminded Indian businesses of such opportunities”.

The prime minister was quoted as saying, “I am regarded as a friend of businessmen and we are regarded as a business-friendly government. Modi, too, is perceived as a business-friendly person. He has a model of development.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Saleem
    May 27, 2014 - 3:02AM

    Over the last 67 years, what has Pakistan achieved from confrontation with India? If dialogue can help resolve issues then why not, it should be given a chance.

    There are people on both sides of the border with very narrow constituencies and agendas? Should those people be allowed to hijack peace? If peace with India is achieved then Pakistan can use its meager resources for betterment of its people.

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  • salman
    May 27, 2014 - 3:02AM

    Thing is mr.sharif..you are ONLY regarded as a friend of the businessmen.

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  • Gul
    May 27, 2014 - 3:56AM

    Appeasing India will never work, Mr. Sharif.

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  • Babloo
    May 27, 2014 - 4:06AM

    I applaud Nawaz sharif, his intentions seem right as far as India-pakistan relations are concerned.

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  • abc
    May 27, 2014 - 4:24AM

    N league has no mandate to represent pakistan anywhere, first get rid of all the allegations and than claim the mandate.

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  • Harkol
    May 27, 2014 - 6:31AM

    @Gul: So, what has worked? Engaging in 4 wars and hosting of Anti-India Terrorists?

    Bottomline: There has to come a day when Pakistan will need to reconcile that it will always be a smaller nation than India, thus will not be able to headbutt with India – covert or overt.

    If it has to survive as a nation, Pakistan will have to realize it is best to settle boundaries as it stands and see if it can benefit from being a neighbour of two of the biggest economies in the world. Not settling the boundaries (accepting LOC and border) – keeps a huge wound alive for Pakistan, which enables the military & militants to have a greater say in Civilian matters.

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  • Rama
    May 27, 2014 - 6:54AM

    Inspite of negative and aggressive views India should reciprocate Pakistan’s and more specially Shri Nawaz Sheriff’s visit to India. This will help break the logjam and hopefully turn a new leaf.it is time we did that. We cannot carry on for decades in a confrontationist atmosphere. It is not good for both nations wasting their precious resources on armies and armaments.

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  • Asad@NYC
    May 27, 2014 - 7:18AM

    @Harkol:
    Small is fine subservient not.

    This is why wise men of the history advised: don’t let people of business interest be your leaders (They can sell you for cheap). Enough of confrontation with Armed forces. Enough of promoting agenda of SAFMA and GEO. Time for winners of sham elections to go.

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  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    May 27, 2014 - 7:33AM

    Only similarity between Modi and Nawaz are that both are naive. Modi thinks he can intimidate Indian Muslims (15-20% India’s population) and Pakistanis into submission. Nawaz believes he can use Modi to expand his personal wealth and is under the false impression Modi is not a genocidist.

    Both believe Muslims of India and Pakistan will allow that. If Modi pursues his Hindu extremist policies, India will break apart on religious lines again and Kashmir will revolt. If Nawaz tries anything against Pakistan, Imran and Pakistan army are ready to replace him.

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  • May 27, 2014 - 7:56AM

    Cordial relationships between Pakistan and India, are good not only for the two countries but the world at large. Together, we can bring peace, fight poverty, illiteracy and terrorism. Friendly relationships between India and Pakistan will only bring good.

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  • PeaceMonger
    May 27, 2014 - 8:11AM

    What “similarities”?? You guys are supposed to be Arabs ! At least according to Mr.Fareed Paracha, Zaid Hamid and Mr.Sheikh Rasheed.

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  • noor
    May 27, 2014 - 10:56AM

    you sir have won the internet@PeaceMonger:

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  • Rahul
    May 27, 2014 - 11:03AM

    @bakhtiyar ghazi khan are you high?

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  • PeaceMonger
    May 27, 2014 - 12:39PM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan:
    You, Sir, are a najoomi of the highest order. NOT !!

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  • The Chauhan
    May 27, 2014 - 6:10PM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan: You in your articles talk a lot about Hindu extremists exploiting Indian muslims. out of the Principle of Ummah but..have you as peace loving God-abiding secular progressive ever talk about your own Hindus & other non-muslims , their fears etc , how over the decades they have fared or is it that since they are Kafirs they are not worth it or that these Kafirs have prospered as much as you the chosen people have

    Interestingly I see Indian newspapers focus only on their Indian minorities over anyone else’s & Pakistani newspapers on the other hand focus not on Pakistani minorities but Indian ones..

    Why such Communal mentality exists amongst Pakistani middleclass who think they are “THEKEDAARS OF Secularism in India”

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  • anwar kamal
    May 28, 2014 - 8:25AM

    ISI is the main obstacle for Pakistan to normalize the relation with India.

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