Tag Archives: Nawaz

PM Nawaz to inaugurate Hazara Motorway tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will perform a groundbreaking ceremony of the Hazara Motorway, the road link of the Pakistan China Economic Corridor, on November 29 (tomorrow).

The 60-kilometre-long, 4-lane fenced expressway will cost Rs33 billion.

The Hazara Motorway will reduce the drive time from Islamabad to Havelian to just 30 minutes, additionally providing a road to the Havelian Dry Port project.

The project anticipates hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities, possibilities of new business ideas, and a socio-economic uplift of the whole region.

Ties with India: Pakistan wants relationship based on self-respect, says Nawaz

ON BOARD THE PRIME MINISTER’S AIRCRAFT: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said Pakistan wants ties with India on the basis of dignity, self-respect and honour and desires ‘meaningful’ dialogue to resolve all issues including the Kashmir dispute.

Talking to reporters accompanying him back from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit, the prime minister said India should not have cancelled the foreign secretary level talks in August.

“We had been talking to the Kashmiri leaders in the past, whenever Pakistan-India talks are held. This is nothing new as we have to seek the opinion of the Kashmiri leaders, on an issue that concerns them the most,” he said.

Premier Nawaz said Pakistan wishes to pursue talks from a position of dignity, honour and self-respect. “We believe in it and will maintain it at all costs.”

He said Pakistan has always sincerely desired meaningful dialogue with India and wants it to be reciprocated from the other side. However, he categorically stated that “if India wants to restore ties, the Kashmir issue must be discussed and that too seriously, with full sincerity.”

The prime minister recalled the number of deaths in Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) due to unprovoked firing by the Indian troops along the Line of Control and working boundary. To a question, he said this issue would also be taken up with India when the talks resume.

He reiterated his stance that since it was India that called off the talks, the onus of starting the dialogue lies with it.

Nawaz, when questioned about the November 30 protest call by Imran Khan, said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief was pursuing a ‘personal agenda’ which was targeting the progress and development of Pakistan.

He said the people of Pakistan have rejected the politics of negativity as they know who was sincere to the welfare of the masses and committed to the progress and development of Pakistan.

“Did the people give them [PTI] votes so that they could hold Pakistan hostage or to go to the assemblies to play their role of a healthy opposition,” he asked. “Their only objective is to get my resignation,” he said.

The premier said the nation should ask Imran why he wants to “destabilise the country, [and] create poverty, unemployment and chaos.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2014.


MQM asks PM Nawaz to seek explanation from Sindh govt over use of funds worth Rs500bn

KARACHI: Accusing Sindh government of mismanaging development funds, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Senator Babar Ghauri wrote a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday asking him to seek an explanation from the provincial government over the use of funds worth Rs500 billion, Express News reported.

This amount was given to Sindh as part of the National Finance Commission.

The minister said the funds allotted for initiating developmental projects in Sindh were completely mishandled by the provincial authorities.

Speaking about the rights of the people of Sindh, he said the concerns of the rural population of the province have been ignored by the government.

MQM recently walked out on its alliance with PPP in Sindh and is rumoured to have developed a strong working relationship with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and could join the federal cabinet in the coming days.


Modi to meet all SAARC leaders but PM Nawaz: Indian official

KATHMANDU: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold meetings on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit with all the leaders except his Pakistani counterpart Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, an Indian official said claiming Islamabad had not requested a meeting.

South Asian leaders met in Kathmandu Wednesday with regional superpower India seeking to boost trade and reinvigorate ties in the face of growing Chinese influence in its backyard, hampered by its bitter rivalry with Pakistan.

The region’s first summit in three years follows some of the worst cross-border violence in the disputed region of Kashmir in a decade, and comes as Nato-led troops prepare to pull out of Afghanistan, intensifying the India-Pakistan rivalry for influence there.

It is also the first time the eight leaders are meeting for the first time since the election of a new government in New Delhi that is taking a more assertive stance on both China and Pakistan.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold his first talks with Afghanistan’s new President Ashraf Ghani on the summit’s sidelines on Wednesday, as New Delhi seeks to develop its involvement in a country that Pakistan considers part of its sphere of influence.

Much of the attention has focused on whether the leaders of India and Pakistan will meet on the sidelines of the summit however, PM Nawaz was reported as saying the ball was in India’s court after New Delhi cancelled talks earlier this year.

“After the recent snub from India, which cancelled foreign secretary-level talks, Pakistan is not going to take the initiative. It will depend whether Modi says he wants to meet,” Pakistani political analyst Talat Masood told AFP.

Hopes of a move towards reconciliation were raised when Modi invited Pakistan’s prime minister to his swearing-in ceremony, but his right-wing nationalist government has adopted a more aggressive policy on Pakistan than its centre-left predecessor.

Modi warned during the recent upsurge in violence in Kashmir that “times have changed and their old habits will not be tolerated”.

On Tuesday, Modi oversaw a billion agreement to build a hydropower plant in neighbouring Nepal, where China has invested heavily in recent years, saying he wanted to “move forward” with deals long delayed by mutual mistrust.

But the mistrust between India and Pakistan – widely seen as the main obstacle to greater South Asian integration – is unlikely to be resolved so easily.

“Saarc’s main problem is that Saarc is basically about India and Pakistan, with the Afghanistan dimension thrown in now,” said Sujeev Shakya, chairperson of the Nepal Economic Forum.

Trade between the Saarc nations – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – has grown from under 0 million in 2008 to 8 million in 2012, according to Saarc figures.

But it still accounts for less than five per cent of the region’s total commerce, according to the Washington-based Brookings Institution. By contrast, trade between East Asian nations accounts for nearly 35 per cent of that region’s total.

Security is also likely to be discussed after al Qaeda announced a new South Asia branch and claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a Karachi naval yard.

Analysts said domestic political concerns would likely take precedence during the Saarc summit, with Modi eager to appear tough on Pakistan during local elections in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Authorities in Kathmandu have spent a reported million on sprucing up the city, repairing its notoriously potholed streets and declaring a two-day public holiday to avert traffic gridlock.

But there is little optimism that much will be achieved.

“It’s time to develop other regional groupings instead of getting bogged down by Saarc, where the conflict between India and Pakistan is a huge obstacle to progress,” said Shakya.

‘No proxy wars in Afghanistan’

Afghanistan’s new President Ashraf Ghani said Wednesday he would not allow anyone to conduct a proxy war in his country after warnings that the rivalry between India and Pakistan could spill across their borders.

Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have long accused each other of using proxy forces to try to gain influence in Afghanistan.

But the departure of Nato combat forces from Afghanistan has raised fears that their rivalry could escalate, further destabilising their troubled neighbour.

“We will not allow our territory to be used against any of our neighbours. But we will not permit anybody to conduct proxy wars on our soil either,” said Ghani at a meeting of South Asian leaders in Nepal that included India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Ghani’s predecessor Hamid Karzai frequently accused Islamabad of trying to destabilise the Kabul government by giving sanctuary to Taliban fighters.

Pakistan was one of only three countries that recognised the mainly Pashtun Taliban regime that ruled in Kabul before being toppled in late 2001.

Without mentioning Pakistan by name, Ghani said that state sponsorship of non-state actors could have damaging effects.

“It should be clear that such measures have blowback effects, destabilising the state system,” he said.

SAARC summit: PM Nawaz calls for dispute-free South Asia

KHATMANDU: My vision for South Asia is to have a dispute-free region, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday.

Addressing the 18th summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc).

Indian Premier Narendra Modi is among other Saarc leaders, who are attending the summit.

The Kathmandu summit is being attended by a number of observers from China, Japan, Australia, the United States and the European Union. The summit has been preceded by preparatory meetings at the senior official and ministerial levels. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry met his counterparts at the Saarc Standing Committee Meeting, which was followed by the meeting of Sartaj Aziz, adviser to the prime minister on national security and foreign affairs.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Nawaz, Modi won’t meet in Khatmandu: Sartaj Aziz

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will not meet on the sidelines of the Saarc Summit, according to private media reports.

The premier’s senior aide, Sartaj Aziz,  on his arrival at Khatmandu clarified there were no plan for a Nawaz-Modi bilateral meeting.

However, he added a meeting between the two leaders could be arranged if Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a request and said it was up to India to have ‘informal talks’ with Pakistan.

There has been speculation about the possibility of a meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the Saarc summit against the backdrop of simmering border tensions.

Although the two nuclear-armed neighbours have repeatedly insisted that neither country has shown any interest in the bilateral meeting, The Express Tribune had learnt through reliable sources that interaction between Nawaz and Modi is still a ‘possibility.’

Earlier, a statement issued by the foreign ministry said that on the sidelines of the SAARC summit, PM Nawaz would meet other leaders of member countries to discuss issues of bilateral and regional interest. However, it did not say whether Nawaz’s bilateral engagements also included a meeting with Modi.

When contacted, a senior foreign ministry official insisted that Pakistan had not yet received any request for such a meeting from the Indian side.

Meanwhile, India’s external affairs ministry remained noncommittal about a bilateral meeting between the two prime ministers. “The prime minister’s [Modi’s] intention is to have meaningful dialogue with as many of our South Asian colleagues as possible. This would mean taking into account all aspects of our relationship,” Syed Akbaruddin was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying.

PM Nawaz meets ISI chief

ISLAMABAD: The director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, on Monday called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is scheduled to leave for Kathmandu, Nepal, on Wednesday to attend a regional summit.

The Prime Minister House confirmed the meeting but did not issue a formal statement. Dr Musaddik Malik, the spokesman for the prime minister, said it was a routine meeting where the overall security situation was discussed.

Sources, however, told The Express Tribune that the prime minister’s upcoming Nepal trip was also discussed in the meeting. The PM is leaving for Kathmandu on Nov 26 where he is scheduled to attend the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc).  Officials from Pakistan and India haven’t ruled out a meeting between Nawaz and Modi on the fringes of summit.

The ongoing ceasefire violations by Indian troops along the LoC also came under discussion, sources said. Separately, the premier also called Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to offer condolences over the death of 50 civilians in the bombing.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2014.

PM Nawaz departs for Nepal to attend SAARC summit

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for Nepal on Tuesday to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit, Radio Pakistan reported. 

The premier is expected to attend a meeting of Saarc foreign ministers today (Tuesday), which aims to finalise the agenda for the two-day Saarc summit on Wednesday.

PM Nawaz will be representing Pakistan at the 18th Saarc Summit which will begin in Kathmandu tomorrow.

Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz will also represent Pakistan at the ministerial meeting.

The theme of the summit tomorrow is ‘Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity.’

Prime Minister Nawaz will also be meeting other leaders of Saarc countries and will be holding discussions on issues of bilateral and regional interests.

Nawaz calls Ghani, offers condolences over Paktika attack

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif telephoned Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday and offered his condolences over the loss of precious lives in suicide attack in Paktika province of Afghanistan.

At least 57 people were killed and 60 others were wounded when a suicide blast ripped through large crowds gathered to watch a volleyball game in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday.

The attack, the deadliest blast in Afghanistan since 2011, struck just as a tournament between three local teams in the volatile Paktika province which borders Pakistan.

According to PM House, the call lasted for almost five minutes during which both leaders discussed the terrorist attack.

Both leaders acknowledged that the terrorists on both sides of the border have started targeting public places, said sources. The terrorist attack on Wagah Border also came under discussion.

According to sources, the premier telephoned the Afghan president after getting input on the incident from the Director General Inter Services Intelligence agency Lt General Rizwan Akhter.

Both leaders reiterated their commitment not to give any chance to those who do not want to cordial relations between two neighbouring countries.

Nawaz will not address nation today: PM’s press secretary

ISLAMABAD: Press secretary to the prime minister contradicted media reports on Monday saying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would address the nation today (Monday).

Private media channels reported that PM Nawaz was to address Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan’s rigging allegations ahead of his ‘decisive rally’ scheduled for November 30 in the federal capital. Further, it was claimed that he would discuss the prevailing security situation of the country and the energy crisis. State-run Radio Pakistan also momentarily reported that the PM would address the nation today. However, the link to the story has been removed now.

However, the PM’s press secretary denied the reports without divulging any further details.

The last time PM Nawaz addressed the nation was on August 12, before PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek marched to the federal capital to stage a sit-in to overthrow the Nawaz-led government.