Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to have a contest between Indian and Pakistani leadership to end poverty in their countries, his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif today said that poverty cannot be eradicated by driving tanks on farmlands.
Despite the conciliatory tone, he once again needled India by calling Hizbul commander Burhan Wani a “son of the Kashmiri soil” in his address to a joint sitting of Pakistan’s parliament.
Responding to Modi’s speech last month challenging Pakistan to a contest over eradicating poverty and other social ills, Sharif said, “If they (Indian leaders) want us to fight them to end poverty, then they should realise that poverty cannot be eradicated by driving tanks on farmlands.”
Sharif, while addressing a joint session of the Parliament convened to discuss the security situation in the wake of increasing Indo-Pak tensions, accused India of running away from dialogue and instead creating a war-like environment by blaming Pakistan for the Uri terror attack in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed last month.
“We have done everything to make India come to the dialogue table, but India did not let it happen. Our efforts were thwarted over and over again,” Sharif claimed.
“Without any investigation (into Uri incident), within a few hours, India blamed Pakistan for the attack,” he said.
Sharif accused India of having some “motives” in blaming Pakistan for the Uri attack when it was “not even established” that who was involved in it.
The Pakistan Prime Minister also accused India of violating the LoC ceasefire agreement and launching “aggression” against Pakistan.
“India’s ceasefire violation resulted in the death of our two soldiers, when it attacked Pakistan. It was befittingly responded and was conveyed that Pakistan Army is fully capable to respond to any aggression,” he said.
Sharif also expressed support for Kashmiris and said the issue should be resolved according to the wishes of people of Kashmir and the UN resolutions.
“The Kashmiri youth have taken it upon themselves to carry on the movement of freedom against Indian aggression and atrocities,” Sharif said.
He again mentioned Wani in his speech.
“The death of Burhan Wani, son of the Kashmiri soil, had reminded India to give Kashmiris their right to self-determination,” Sharif said.
Raking up Kashmir at the UN General Assembly, Sharif had called Wani a “young leader”, evoking a strong reaction from India.
Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8, sparking off protests in the Valley.