Nawaz Sharif vows warmer ties with India, better relations with US
Washington: Nawaz Sharif, poised for a record third term as Pakistan Prime Minister after his party's emphatic win in the landmark general elections, has vowed to pursue better relations with the US while seeking "warmer ties" with India.
In an interview to The Wall Street Journal after the impressive victory of Pakistan Muslim League-N in the polls, Sharif recalled that his country's relationship with the US was quite good when he was in power.
"I'd like to take this relationship further. We need to strengthen the relationship," said 63-year-old Sharif, who has held the top position twice in the past.
"The US may wish to re-examine its drone campaign or risk stoking the anti-Americanism that feeds Pakistani public anger," Nawaz said, referring to the strong opposition to the controversial drone strikes by the CIA inside Pakistan.
Responding to questions on the drone strikes, Sharif said he would discuss these issues of concerns with the US leadership.
"These are the concerns that the Pakistani people have," Sharif said, when asked about the drone operations.
"We'll need to address these concerns. I'm very hopeful and confident about that," he added.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Sharif said he would "seek warmer ties" with India and offered an "olive branch" to Afghanistan.
Sharif who was ousted by the army in 1999 said he expects a smooth relationship with the military this time.
"There is no problem with the military," he said.
"I don't think the military is responsible for what Musharraf did, he did it in his personal capacity. The military should not be blamed for this," he told the journal.
Yesterday both US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry said that they were looking forward to working with the new government of Pakistan.
"The US and Pakistan have a long history of working together on mutual interests, and my administration looks forward to continuing our cooperation with the Pakistani government that emerges from this election as equal partners in supporting a more stable, secure, and prosperous future for the people of Pakistan," Obama said in a statement.