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India, Pak were ready to solve Kashmir issue in 1999: Sharif

May 28, 2011 21:40 IST

Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said that India and Pakistan were ready to resolve the Kashmir issue in 1999.

"The then Indian prime minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee and I were ready to resolve the Kashmir issue in 1999 but General (Pervez) Musharraf did the misadventure in Kargil and then overthrew my government," Sharif said while addressing a function on Saturday to mark the anniversary of Pakistan carrying out nuclear tests.

"After we carried out the nuclear tests in 1998, India started taking us on an equal footing. In the following year, the Indian prime minister came to Lahore and we issued a joint resolution at the Minar-e-Pakistan," he told a crowd of cheering supporters.

Sharif said when his government went ahead with the nuclear tests in 1998, half the world was with Pakistan.

"I do not say that no one was with India. There were countries that were with India when it carried out the nuclear tests," he said.

Pakistan had become stronger after the blasts but the subsequent martial law had weakened it, he said.

"Had the people stopped the dictators from toppling the elected government, Pakistan would have been on the road to progress today," he lamented.

Sharif said he was not happy with the government of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as corruption was rampant and Pakistan's sovereignty was being compromised.

He said he would join the people in showing the door to the government if it did not mend its ways. Pakistan had been shaken by the killing of Osama bin Laden in a raid by United States' forces in Abbotabad and the attack on PNS Mehran naval airbase in May, he said.

"May 28 reminds me of the day when Pakistan tested nuclear devices, which gave confidence to the nation and the defence of the country became invincible. But today, Pakistan is surrounded by dangers despite being a nuclear state," Sharif said.

M Zulqernain In Lahore
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