ISLAMABAD: Lamenting recent ‘irresponsible’ statements by Indian government officials, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday the atmosphere for relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours has been hampered due to the hostile rhetoric.
“Recent statements by Indian ministers have hampered our relations with India,” the premier said, while addressing journalists at the Foreign Office.
Nawaz upheld, “Despite these statements we will continue our efforts towards good neighbourly relations but they need to be reciprocated.”
“The entire nation is dismayed over these irresponsible and imprudent statements by the Indian leadership,” Nawaz added.
The premier’s statement come during a time of constant verbal exchange between the two countries. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore warned that Indian strikes in Myanmar were a message to all countries, including Pakistan and groups harbouring ‘terror intent’ that India would strike at the ‘place and at a time’ of its choosing.
However, Nawaz reaffirmed, “Pakistan will protect its territory at all costs and this message should be heard loud and clear.”
“Externally sponsored violence poses as a great threat to the country,” he added.
Regarding his meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during his visit to Tajikistan, Nawaz said, “I told the UN secretary general that early implementation of their resolutions is incumbent.”
“Kashmir cannot be relegated to backburner of history,” he added.
Commenting on relations with its other neighbor, Afghanistan, Nawaz said, “Pakistan and Afghanistan have moved closer as we resolved to fight together our common enemy, terrorism.”
Further, apprising the meeting of the China, Pakistan Economic Corridor, Nawaz said, “The project will make Pakistan a regional hub.”
“CPEC is a game changer,” he added.
The premier said this is not a time for complacency but for intensifying our efforts.”
Gwadar to be declared duty-free port: Nawaz
Earlier today, PM Nawaz announced that Gwadar would be declared a duty-free port.
“Gwadar should be a gift for the entire region,” he said, while addressing the National Assembly.
The premier went on to say that although he has not formally approached any party for the change in status for Gwadar, he does intend on doing it.
“I request all parties to sit with us and give Gwadar the status of a free port and make a new administrative system for it,” he said.
Regarding his recent visit to Tajikistan, Prime Minister Nawaz said, “In my recent meetings with leaders of Tajikistan, they expressed their desire to increase connectivity between the two countries and pave a way to Central Asia through Gwadar.”
“Over Rs30 billion have already been allocated for western root under Pakistan-China economic corridor,” the premier told lawmakers.
Responding to criticism from the opposition, the premier said, “Our government made a coastal highway in Gwadar and it was us who started work there.”
He went on to assure motorways would be built in Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. “Motorways are being constructed across the country.”
Responding to points raised by Pakistan Peoples Party’s Nawab Ali Wassan in his budget speech, the premier said, “The work on Hyderabad-Karachi section of Lahore-Karachi Motorway has begun,” while adding that work in the Hyderabad-Sukkur section will also be completed soon.
“In K-P, work on the Hazara Motorway is progressing rapidly,” he said, adding the PML-N government is working on these projects as a national duty and expressed confidence that these projects would be completed during the next three years.
Hitting back at Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah for claiming that motorway projects should have been completed in 1990, the premier said, “In 1993, our government was dissolved and in 1997, we decided to make the motorway till Karachi again but were unable to.”
Meanwhile, the prime minister also said, “It will take three more years to end load shedding in the country.”
“Work on multi-billions projects to produce over 5000MW of electricity is rapidly progressing.”
Further, the premier said two new projects are being started in Thar, which will each produce 650MW of electricity.