Nawaz Sharif wishes ‘Modi ji’, calls for both countries to ‘replace hate with hope’

New Delhi, June 10 (UNI) Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday extended warm felicitations to Prime Minister Narendra “Modi ji” on his re-election and called on both sides to “replace hate with hope and seize the opportunity to shape the destiny of the two billion people of South Asia”.

PM Modi, who took oath of office on Sunday for the third successive time, thanked the former Pakistan PM for the wishes, and in a tactful, carefully worded reply, said that “the people of India have always stood for peace, security and progressive ideas”.

Sharif, who took over as president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz last month, posted on X:

“My warm felicitations to Modi Ji (@narendramodi) on assuming office for the third time. Your party’s success in recent elections reflects the confidence of the people in your leadership.

“Let us replace hate with hope and seize the oppurtunity to shape the destiny of the two billion people of South Asia.”

PM Modi, in his reply, posted:

“Appreciate your message @NawazSharifMNS. The people of India have always stood for peace, security and progressive ideas. Advancing the well-being and security of our people shall always remain our priority.”

PM Modi and Nawaz Sharif have met and interacted during Modi’s first term when he invited the South Asian leaders, including PM Nawaz Sharif, to his swearing-in in May 2014 and the two sides held talks. However, the seeming thaw in relations fell apart when the then Pakistan High Commissioner met with Kashmiri separatist leaders in New Delhi. India then called off the talks between their foreign ministers, and relations turned frosty.

In November 2015, Nawaz Sharif and Modi met and shook hands on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference, bringing hope that bilateral talks would soon be on the anvil. This was followed by a meeting of their respective National Security Advisors in Bangkok – Ajit Doval and Nasir Janjua, on December 7, when peace and security and other issues were discussed.

PM Modi followed it up a few days later with a surprise stopover in Lahore to meet PM Nawaz Sharif, while on way back from a visit to Afghanistan. The unscheduled visit by Modi to Pakistan was the first by an Indian PM to that country in 10 years. Modi had gone to Lahore carrying gifts for Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding, including a pink silk turban for Nawaz, who sported it on the day of his granddaughter’s wedding.

However, within a few days, in the early morning of January 2, 2016, terrorists of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed attacked the Indian Air Force’s Pathankot Airbase, which is part of the Western Air Command. In the attack, which lasted a few days, seven security personnel were killed, including a Garud commando and one NSG commando. The five terrorists were also killed.

The attack halted any hopes of resumption of talks, and later in September that year Jaish terrorists launched an early morning attack on an Indian Army base in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, killing 19 Indian soldiers.

The attack put a full-stop to any scope of talks between the two sides. Pakistan-based terrorists have launched cross-border terror attacks on India on other occasions too, including the February 2019 Pulwama attack in which a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle against a bus full of CRPF personnel, killing 40.

India has said that terror and talks cannot go together.

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