News Column

Nawaz Sharif Vows to End Islamist Militancy

August 19, 2013

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to bring an end to Islamist militancy in Pakistan, in his first address to the nation on Monday.

Militants pose an "existential threat" to the South Asian country, he said on television.

"I invite all those elements to dialogue who unfortunately follow the path of extremism," Sharif said, warning that his administration would use "other options" if the offer was down.

"I want an end to this bloodbath, whether on negotiation table or through full state force."

Pakistan on Sunday temporarily suspended the planned execution of militants after a threat of retaliation by homegrown Taliban.

Pakistan has seen a surge in violence linked to al-Qaeda since Sharif took office in June after his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party won parliamentary elections.

Sharif also pledged to "constructive engagement" with neighbouring India.

"I want better relations with India," he said.

Weeks of skirmishes along the de facto border dividing the disputed Kasmir region have raised tensions between the the nuclear-armed neighbours.

Sharif also pledged to revive Pakistan's crippled economy and eradicate corruption.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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