LONDON - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed hope that following his meeting with President Barack Obama, the issue of violation of Pakistan's territorial integrity and sovereignty by drone strikes would be resolved soon.
Talking to reporters here Thursday after his arrival from Washington at the end of his 4-day visit, the PM said, “Hopefully soon the drone issue will be resolved according to the wishes of the people of Pakistan.” He said there would be progress on the matter definitely, as drones violate Pakistan's territorial integrity and sovereignty. "I think the issue will now settle down," the premier said.
He said that he raised the issue of drone strikes inside Pakistan in his meeting with President Barack Obama, saying these attacks are against the country's sovereignty and must come to an end.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that his meeting with President Obama was positive in which they discussed various issues ranging from drone attacks, Dr Afia Siddique, Shakil Afridi, Pakistan's relations with India, energy crisis to bilateral trade ties and Afghanistan. He said the issues of Mumbai attacks, Jamatud Dawa and crossborder terrorism also came under discussion.
Giving an overview of his visit to the US, Nawaz said, “We talked about all issues. I understand that in the past, all issues should have been discussed. But if these issues were not discussed in the past, it does not mean they should not be discussed now. Whatever we say, we act upon it. And I understand that Pakistan's politics should come out of duplicity and hypocrisy."
Referring to the recent Amnesty International report that states the US may be committing war crimes by using drones, the PM said, “Whatever they say, it is up to them. But I think I have raised the issue where it should have been raised. And when something is said, it does have its effect."
Regarding his talks with the US leaders to help resolve the long-standing issue of Jammu and Kashmir, the premier said ‘the US should play a role’. He said though India does not want any US role on the matter, Pakistan does want Washington to play a role.
"I have read and heard the Indian foreign minister's reaction to my earlier statement. We should talk to each other, and this would be a very good thing. But if bilateral negotiations do not succeed, then if third party helps resolving the issue, there is no harm in it."
To a question about Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Dr Shakeel Afridi, the PM said the US did raise its concerns, as did Pakistan. "Need of the hour is that we should understand each other's concerns and then they should be addressed accordingly." He further said, "I think now we have started this process of dialogue, and you must have heard what Obama said. I think his views were quite positive."
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said during his stay he met very important people in the US administration who showed keen interest on the issues of energy, economy and education. "This shows that they are deeply interested in Pakistan's progress.
My meeting with President Obama was quite long and we discussed all issues."
To a question about his discussion about release of Aafia Siddiqui, the Prime Minister said "I can't say anything on this issue. They discussed Dr Shakeel, we did discuss Dr Aafia. Now we are going back to Pakistan; we’ll review the situation and think about it. After we complete our review and analysis, then we’ll talk to you [media]."
Regarding his discussions on Pakistan's energy issue, the PM said, "We asked them to urge their potential investors to come to Pakistan and invest in the energy sector." He said they can invest in hydro-power, Gaddani coal project, wind energy projects, solar energy plants.
"We have started work on Bhasha Dam. Since our government itself is working on energy projects, I am sure foreign investors would also come and invest in this sector.
We want to solve the energy problem very soon."
During the meeting, the PM said that they reaffirmed that a peaceful, stable, independent, and united Afghanistan is in the interest of the region. “The deteriorating conditions of Pakistan are a result of our own wrong doings and we need to undertake remedial actions,” said Nawaz adding,
“We are facing four vital issues pertaining to energy, economy, education and fighting terrorism and steps are being devised to tackling all four by the government.” The four issues need to be resolved so as to bring about a better future for our upcoming generation, said Nawaz. He said, “We wish to keep friendly and cordial relations with neighbours Afghanistan and India to which the US feels satisfied.”
He said he apprised President Obama that the process for dialogue with Taliban had been started as decided by the All Parties Conference. He said the government will ensure transparency at all levels.