LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif Thursday called on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi and underscored the importance of resumption of the Pak-India dialogue process and peaceful resolution of all issues.

Shahbaz also delivered a message of goodwill from his elder brother, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, emphasising “Pakistan’s desire to forge friendly and cooperative relations with India, in the interest of peace and prosperity of the people of the two countries and of the region,” a Pakistan High Commission press release said.

CM Shahbaz later told a group of reporters that in the meeting he pressed the need for resolving all problems, including terrorism and Kashmir, through peaceful dialogue, overcoming the “baggage of the past”. Shahbaz Sharif, who is number two in ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, insisted “war is no option” in resolving the problems between the two countries, reported Indian media.

PM Singh “came out with observation on disturbances on the LoC in the recent months,” Shahbaz said, adding “I obviously replied”. He said he conveyed his views on Sir Creek, Siachen, water and Kashmir and emphasised that these issues need to be addressed.

To a question, he said the two countries should cooperate to fight the menace of terrorism and stamp it out so that there is peace in this part of the world and flow of investments and creation of jobs. “Pakistan itself is a victim of militancy and terrorism. We obviously condemn all shades and forms of terrorism. We are facing this in severe form,” he said. “Without defeating this menace, there cannot be progress in this region,” he added.

Shahbaz was accompanied by Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi, Minister of State for Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan and Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashood Khan and High Commissioner Salman Bashir during the meeting in which matters relating to mutual cooperation in various sectors including energy, trade, health and transport also came under discussion.

The chief minister during the talks with Singh said that Pakistan government wants a lasting and permanent peace in the region. He said both countries could benefit from the experiences of each other and future of the people of both the countries is linked with peace as such neither country can afford confrontation. Shahbaz said a comfortable life, best treatment facilities and better education is the dream of the people of both the countries. Therefore, it is duty of the two governments to materialise this dream, he added.

Later, the chief minister inspected Dehli Metro Train system and travelled in the underground train. Metro officials gave a briefing to him about the transit system. Shahbaz Sharif also informed the participants about the Lahore Metro Bus Service. The participants were of the view that completion of bus service in a short period of 11 months was a miracle of engineering.

Shahbaz Sharif also visited Jamia Masjid Delhi where Imam Masjid Ahmed Shah Bukhari received him. On hearing about the arrival of Punjab CM, thousands of people gathered in the mosque. The CM offered Maghrib prayers there. Addressing the people, he said it is an honour for him to visit the historical mosque as it is a place from where a number of political and religious movements had started.

He said he could still hear in the mosque the voices of great leaders who lead the Muslims before independence. Imam Masjid in his note of welcome said that Indian Muslims pray for the development and prosperity of Pakistan and Pakistani people. He also offered dua for the development, prosperity of the people, security of both the countries and peace in the region.