Pakistan ready to work with Modi, says Sartaj

* PM’s advisor says Islamabad is looking forward to restarting dialogue once new govt is in place in Delhi

LAHORE: Pakistan is ready to talk to any government elected by the Indian voters, including one headed by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s advisor on security and foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz told Hindustan Times. 
“We are ready to do business with any leader, including Modi,’’ Aziz said in a telephone interview from London.
Backing his statement that indicated Pakistan’s willingness to work with Modi, Aziz emphasised that the last time there was any real progress between the two neighbours was ‘under a BJP-led government with Vajpayee as PM’.
Vajpayee, in 1999, had undertaken a bus journey across the Wagah border to Lahore when Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister of Pakistan. 
The two had signed the Lahore declaration in which both countries committed themselves to ‘intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir’. In the declaration, both also agreed to confidence-building measures in the nuclear and conventional military fields.
Reiterating his government’s desire for normalising ties with India, Aziz said, “Peace with India was Nawaz Sharif’s poll plank and he launched his peace mission immediately after becoming prime minister. In fact, he told me that he was taking up peace as a poll issue so it will help him once he comes to power. We had a good start with Manmohan Singh and now look forward to restarting the dialogue once a new government is in place in Delhi.”

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