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Drone issue to settle down soon: Nawaz

25 October, 2013

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LONDON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday expressed the 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 soon after his arrival from Washington at the end of his four-day visit, the prime minister said, "Hopefully soon the drone issue will be resolved according to the wishes of Pakistani people." He said there would definitely be progress on the matter as Pakistan's territorial integrity and sovereignty was being violated. "I think this issue will now settle down somehow," the prime minister said.

Giving an overview of his visit to the United States, Prime Minister 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 Amnesty International report that states that the United States may be committing war crimes by using drones, Prime Minister Nawaz said, "Whatever they say, it is up to them. But I think I have raised this 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 prime minister said "the US should play a role". He said though India does was against it but Pakistan wants the US to play a role in the matter.

"I have read and heard 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 in resolving the issue, there is no harm in it." To a question about Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Dr Shakeel Afridi, Prime Minister Nawaz 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. I think now we have started this process of dialogue, and you must have heard what Obama said today. I think his views were quite positive." Prime Minister Nawaz said that 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 will review the situation and will think about it. After we complete our review and analysis, then we will talk to you (media)." Regarding his discussions on Pakistan's energy issue, the said, "We asked them to urge their potential investors to come to Pakistan and invest in the energy sector."

Nawaz said they can invest in the hydro-power sector, Gaddani coal project, wind energy projects and 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."


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