In the backdrop of Nawaz Sharif’s positive remarks on ties with India, powerful Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has suggested Pakistan’s Prime Minister- designate to take gradual initiatives with utmost caution for improving relations with New Delhi, a media report said on Sunday.
Kayani made the suggestion when he called on PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, set to become Prime Minister for a record third term following his party’s victory in the May 11 polls, at his brother Shahbaz Sharif’s home in Lahore yesterday.
The News daily quoted its sources as saying that Kayani wanted the new government to take gradual initiatives with utmost caution to improve relations with India as this alone “may lead to lasting peace in the region”.
Kayani ensured that Sharif “knew the exact situation on the ground with regard to Pakistan-India ties in the backdrop of developments over the last decade” as Sharif did not have first-hand experience in view of his absence from power, the report said.
In Kayani’s view, the relationship between Pakistan and India “demands a comprehensive strategy for addressing the geopolitical challenges which have cropped up over the years” since Sharif’s last tenure as premier.
There was no official word from the PML-N or the army on the meeting.
Before the elections, Sharif had made some surprisingly positive statements on ties with India which many thought may not have gone down well with the Army, the News said.
The PML-N chief had said he is keen on resuming the India-Pakistan peace process that was interrupted in 1999 by then army chief Pervez Musharraf, who ousted Sharif’s government in a military coup.
The report said Kayani called on Sharif to congratulate him on the PML-N’s success in the general election and informally talked “about all national security issues”.
He informed Sharif that the new premier and his cabinet would be given a briefing on all important internal and external national security challenges after their swearing-in.
The armed forces are “fully behind the democratic government and had worked hard for ensuring democracy”, Kayani was quoted as saying.