PM's letter a goodwill gesture

Courtesy:- S Rahman

Common Economic Destination is not merely a collection of three words mentioned in PM Nawaz Sharif’s letter to his Indian counterpart Nirandera Modi but a solid objective that the leaders and people of both the countries ought to pursue to come out of the ever-deepening abyss of abject poverty and miseries.

Rather this objective should have been pursued passionately from the beginning but that would have been possible if there had been realization that the destinations and goals of nations are to be sought in peace, not through war or by sticking stubbornly to stated positions of belligerency and hostility. The situation in the subcontinent notwithstanding, almost everywhere in the world, many changes have taken place toward peaceful co-existence among traditional rivals.
Pakistan and India too can tread this path of peaceful co-existence to reach the Common Economic Destination. They have more opportunities available to them for changing the lives of their peoples by way of mutual cooperation what PM Sharif calls “our endeavours and working in harmony”. If PM Sharif’s letter is evaluated in letter and spirit, it is like summing up his innate longing for lasting peace and masses’ prosperity, in a nutshell. Each and every word in the letter conveys these feelings of sincerity that an elected, popular leader ought to have toward his people and toward his neighbours.
The fact remains that neighbours are a natural, geographical reality that can neither be wished away nor changed. And when the two countries have so much potential to expand multifaceted ties in a number of areas, including, inter alia, common sub-continental social patterns, mutually understandable languages and trade, there is no reason why around half a billion people of this region are compelled to lead miserable lives at the mercy of others.
The solutions are not that much difficult to find out. What is needed is the initiative to jump start the things or, in Mian Nawaz Sharif’s words, to start doing the things “in harmony to resolve all unsettled matters for the benefit of both the nations.”
In fact, these words uttered by the Pakistani Premier, have a deep background. They are rather solutions to the problems, the same compelling problems that have continued to eclipse the entire process of development and growth on both sides of the divide for the last six decades or so. Obviously, the unsettled issues remain a big stumbling block in the attainment of durable peace followed by economic turnaround.
PM Sharif has therefore emphasized in his letter to Indian Premier Modi to work together in harmony for resolving the unsettled matters. The stress is on working together in harmony which clearly implies leaving aside the bitterness or misgivings of the past. Equal stress is on the sole objective “benefit of both the nations”.
Of course, through these mutual endeavours, the nations and the peoples on both sides can improve their standards of living after the respective governments are successful in providing the enabling environment.
Pakistan has certainly taken the lead as is evident from PM Sharif’s offer to his Indian counterpart to work together. Even earlier, when Mian Nawaz Sharif was heading the government of Pakistan, Pak-India ties had attained a comfortable détente which, if reviewed in hindsight, gives the feeling as if both the countries had, at that time, decided to put an end to hostilities and establish links omutually beneficial basis.
In fact, PML-N leadership is desirous of peace with its next-door neighbor India because the vast majority of people who have given mandate to this party to rule for five years, don’t want war. They want peace, stability and prosperity. And hence the Prime Minister’s message to his Indian counterpart to work for resolving the unsettled matters so that peace comes to this region at last.
One thing must be kept in mind that in no way the PM has given any gesture or even a statement during his recent visit to India to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, that smacks of any weakness on the part of Pakistan or Pakistani leadership. PM’s detractors are, therefore, not right in jumping over the conclusion that Sharif government’s priorities don’ttake into account the unresolved issues or disputes viz the Kashmir dispute.
The fact is that PML-N leadership has always taken a firm stand on the country’s principled position vis-à-vis other countries as PML-N has always worked on a foreign policy that aims at maintaining friendly ties with all without compromising the principled standpoint of Pakistan.
In the instant case too, the words used by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reflect the same approach which has only one aim: and that is public weal. \"It is the millions living in povertyin both countries who deserve our foremost attention. I firmly believe that in our concerted efforts lies the welfare and prosperity of our two nations; I hope that our endeavours will lay the foundation of a much brighter future,\" it was so stated by Sharif when he wrote to Modi.
This positive gesture (this letter is in reality a practical initiative) has met success in a way that it has been able to get a positive response in almost equally encouraging words from Indian PM Modi like “our collective hopes and shared destinies.\" 
Modi has said further in his letter \"I’m encouraged by our discussions on our bilateral relations and the convergence in our views, especially on the fact that a relationship between India and Pakistan defined by peace, friendship and cooperation would unleash enormous opportunities for our youth and secure a more prosperous future for our people and accelerate progress across our region. I’m looking forward to working closely with your government and you in an atmosphere free from confrontation and violence in order to chart a new course in our bilateral relations.\" 
And PM Modi has also condemned the recent terror attack at the Karachi airport and condoled the loss of innocent lives.

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