War not an option, rival military officials should meet: Shahbaz Sharif
New Delhi – Pa! kistan Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has said Islamabad would be happy to host a meeting of their directors general of military operations for peace on the troubled border.
Shahbaz Sharif, who is also the No. 2 in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), also said the Pakistan Army shared the government’s desire for peace with India. “Absolutely, we’re on one page” on the issue.
Shahbaz, in an interview to Headlines Today news channel, also reiterated his government’s offer of a third party probe into the ceasefire violations on the Line of Control. Pakistan had made the offer of “third party probe” in January after tensions between the two sides following the killing and beheading of an Indian soldier on the Line of Control (LoC). India had rejected the offer.
The Pakistan Punjab chief minister said that during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here Thursday mornin! g “I reiterated the offer that the meeting of the DGMOs should! take place as soon as possible and said that Pakistan will be very happy to host the meeting in Islamabad.”
He said “Pakistan is ready (for the meeting of DGMOs) when India is ready”, and described the escalation of ceasefire violations on the LoC as “unfortunate”.
India has reiterated that their Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) should meet first as has been decided during the Sep 29 New York meeting between Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif.
Shahbaz Sharif, who is in India on the invite of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, also said that both countries should “forget the past baggage” of animosities and start “a new era based on equality, mutual trust and bring hope to resolve issues” between them.
He also said that “war is not an option” between the two nuclear armed neighbours. “The only option is to sit down across the table with patience, logical sense, tolerance and foresight to discuss everything under the sun to fi! nd resolutions that are on win-win basis.”
Shahbaz’s comment comes days after Nawaz Sharif was quoted by Dawn as saying Dec 4 that Kashmir is “a flashpoint and can trigger a fourth war” with India. His office had issued a statement denying the statement. But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in a retort said that there was “no scope of Pakistan winning any such war (with India)” in his lifetime.
To a question on how Pakistan would prevent peace talks being sabotaged by incidents like Kargil in 1999 and the ceasefire violations that erupted just ahead of the New York meeting, Shahbaz said “it takes two to tango” and that both should not enter into the blame game but push for peace.
“Let’s not highlight the blame game, let’s apply time how to resolve these issues, how to build bridges, how to remove the air of mistrust and promote confidence.”
He said his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were frank and dwelt on the “desire to move forward o! n bilateral relations”.