LONDON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that external forces are involved in the terrorism campaign inside Pakistan and far from being a sponsor, Pakistan was actually a victim of foreign-funded well-organised wave of terrorism.
Reluctant to condemn the Taliban and other Jihadi terrorist groups, Nawaz Sharif said the Taliban had announced that they were not behind the attack in Peshawar's Qissa Khawani Bazaar.
"When the Taliban disown the attacks, the mind is naturally compelled to think that there are external forces at work to destabilize Pakistan. We need to find out who these hidden hands are and who is behind them," said Sharif highlighting Pakistan's long-held suspicions that India and several other players may be funding groups active inside Pakistan against Pakistan's national interests.
Pakistan believes that India is involved in direct and indirect funding of several separatist and religious groups operating in Pakistan. It was clear from Nawaz Sharif's interaction in London that he prefers avoiding a confrontation with the Taliban and other Jihadi terror groups at this stage.
Nawaz Sharif said that he had raised with Manmohan Singh the issue of Balochistan, where Pakistan suspects an Indian hand behind the Baloch militants.When asked by The News about his reaction on how the Taliban have continuously attacked to show their disregard for the "peace talks" offer by the All Parties Conference, Nawaz Sharif said that he will devise a strategy once he is back in Pakistan.
The premier said that he had urged Manmohan Singh to resolve all the issues between Pakistan and India through talks as peace was the only way forward for both the countries. Nawaz Sharif said that he had presented Pakistan's' principled viewpoint in the UN General Assembly in the manner that it should have been.
Nawaz Sharif said that he had outlined Pakistan's foreign policy in his address to the General Assembly and attempted to convey Pakistan's concerns to the world.Nawaz Sharif denied he called Manmohan Singh a "village woman" - something that the PM never said but became a major controversy in India.
On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif said that he was satisfied with the modest outcome of the meeting. When asked about the jingoistic language used by Indian politicians and media towards his meeting with Singh, Sharif said that he believed that "dialogue was the only way forward to achieve peace and stability in the region".
Nawaz Sharif said: "We need to be sagacious and realistic about peace in the South Asian region. Some of the most hotly contested issues in the world were settled through talks. If we don't sit down and talk through things, then we can't resolve our issues. There is poverty and backwardness in India and Pakistan, both countries face so many issues. It's in the interest of India and Pakistan to maintain peace and negotiate with each other for peace."
Nawaz Sharif refused to comment when asked for his views on Salman Khursheed's allegations that Pakistan's ISI and army had worked towards derailing Nawaz Sharif's peace efforts. Sharif said that he was not aware that the Indian foreign minister had made such allegations. Nawaz Sharif said that he had discussed with Singh "all important issues" including the issue of Kashmir, water, Siachin, Sir Creek and Balochistan.
Nawaz Sharif claimed that American trade companies viewed Pakistan with optimism, especially after the election of his party at the federal level. "International investors are happy with our government and our policies, they want to come to Pakistan to invest but we need to end loadshedding. We need to find money to deal with the energy crisis. There are very serious and urgent issues we are faced with. The tasks before us are really big but we must overcome them."