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We will promote trade, business with India: Pakistan PM Sharif

world Updated: Aug 01, 2013 21:23 IST

Relations between India and Pakistan should be like that of two neighbours, with the focus being on trade and business, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday.

Sharif made the remarks while interacting with reporters during a rare visit to Karachi, Pakistan's financial hub. Asked by a journalist about the state of ties with India, he said relations "should be like how relations are between two neighbours."

"We will promote trade, investment and business," he said. Pakistan wants to maintain good ties with India but it will also endeavour to resolve long-standing issues, including the Kashmir dispute, he said.

Sharif said Pakistan wants to initiate the peace process from the Lahore Declaration that he had signed with his former Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999.

Until recently, Sharif's PML-N party did not enjoy cordial relations with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the party that dominates Karachi's political landscape. He made a stopover in the capital of the Sindh province while on his way to Gwadar port in Balochistan.

The PML-N recently got the MQM's support in the presidential election, and Sharif said he respected the mandate of every party in the country.

Turning to domestic issues, Sharif announced that a six-lane motorway will be built to link Karachi and Lahore, the capital of the central Punjab province.

He said he had signed a MoU for the billion-dollar motorway project with China during an official visit to Beijing last month.

Sharif further said concrete steps will be taken to resolve law and order problems in Karachi, which has seen around 1,600 people killed this year. Most of the killings are related to crime, politics and ethnic and sectarian strife.

Later in Gwadar, Sharif announced a number of new projects. He said an economic corridor would be built from the port to the border with China.

"The economic corridor plan, including road, highway and railways, will benefit several provinces, including Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa," he said.