Islamabad: Forging close ties with India was an "important mandate" of the government headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as he was very keen on improving ties, a senior Pakistani official has said. The official added that Nawaz Sharif is trying to pick up the threads from the Lahore process of 1999.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, made the remarks while talking to Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal, who paid a farewell call on him on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said.
"Forging close ties with India was an important mandate of the government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was very keen on improving relations by picking up the threads from the Lahore process of 1999," he said on Thursday.
Sharif has vowed to revive the Indo-Pak peace process which was interrupted in 1999 by then military ruler Parvez Musharraf who ousted him in a coup. He had started the peace process with then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Meanwhile, Sabharwal also paid a farewell call on President Asif Ali Zardari who said Pakistan wants friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations with India.
He said India and Pakistan have tremendous opportunities to boost bilateral cooperation for mutual benefit of the two peoples, an official statement said.
He appreciated the efforts of the outgoing Indian High Commissioner for improving Pakistan-India relations during his four-year tenure.
Sabharwal thanked the President for the support extended to him by the Government of Pakistan during his tenure as High Commissioner.
Recalling his four-year tenure in Islamabad, the Indian High Commissioner felt that relations between the two countries had improved during the last two years and it was important to keep the momentum.
Aziz appreciated the efforts of the High Commissioner in working towards building better relations.
The adviser wished the High Commissioner well in his future endeavours and stated that he looked forward to working with his successor in improving relations between the two countries.