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August 14, 1999
India not serious about peace: Sharief
Saeed Azhar in Islamabad
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief said today the shooting down of a Pakistani naval patrol plane showed that India was not serious about making peace.
''The world should realise after this incident who aspires for peace, and who wants to destroy peace,'' Sharief said in an independence day speech broadcast from outside parliament house in Islamabad.
Mixing appeals for peace with tough talk about the country's military prowess, he said Pakistan had behaved responsibly towards India since publicly demonstrating its nuclear power in tests in May last year.
''We have acted with responsibility and patience after becoming a nuclear power and are still behaving in the same manner. But there is a limit to everything,'' he said.
He said that peace in South Asia would not be possible until India and Pakistan settled their 52-year-old dispute over Kashmir.
He said that Pakistan's July 4 decision to seek the withdrawal of Pakistani infiltrators from India's strategic Kargil heights showed Islamabad's willingness to work for peace with its neighbour.
Sharief paid tributes to the war victims, who included some 200 soldiers. Pakistan says they were killed in Indian attacks across the Line of Control dividing Kashmir.
''I salute the men of the Pakistan army who showed traditional valour and embraced martyrdom. I also salute the Mujahideen. By the grace of Allah their blood will not go to waste,'' he said.
''We always strove to resolve the (Kashmir) dispute in a peaceful manner. The appeal to the Mujahideen to withdraw from the Kargil heights was also made to ease tension and pave the way for talks,'' he said.
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