India has failed to respond to Pakistan's desire for good relations, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, in rare rebuke of a neighbour with which he has promised to mend ties.
Sharif made improving relations with India a priority when
he swept to power for a third time in a 2013 election.
The nuclear-armed neighbours' top diplomats met in Pakistan
last month, after at least a dozen people were killed in a
series of exchanges of fire along their disputed border, but
there has been little sign of progress in ties.
"Our desire for good neighbourly relations with India has
not been reciprocated," Sharif told the Saudi Gazette in an
interview during a recent visit that was published in Pakistani
newspapers on Wednesday.
Sharif said his acceptance of an invitation last May to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's inauguration was "an exceptional decision."
But months later, India withdrew from talks after Pakistan's ambassador in India met Indian Kashmiri separatist politicians.
Sharif said that was a "frivolous pretext". "There is no sign of India desiring resumption of dialogue with us," he said.
Sharif's aim to improve ties with India was widely seen as cause of friction with the army, though tension has eased since last year when the military helped calm anti-government protests.
A government insider said at the time Sharif would stay in
power but had to "share space" with the army on issues such as
relations with India and security.
Sharif said Pakistan was ready for "constructive dialogue for negotiated settlement of all issues, including the issue of
Jammu and Kashmir".
India says Pakistan arms militants fighting in Indian Kashmir. Pakistan denies that saying it offers political support to Kashmiris facing rights abuses at the hands of India's army.
India was angered this month when a Pakistani court freed on bail Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who was accused of plotting a 2008 assault on the Indian city of Mumbai. India said the release "reinforced the perception that Pakistan has a dual policy on dealing with terrorists".
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