NEW YORK - Former Pakistani rime minister Nawaz Sharif, whose party swept Saturday's polls, told a major American newspaper that he would seek improved ties with the United States, Afghanistan and India. "The relationship with the U.S. was quite good when I was in power," sharif said.
Sharif was quoted as saying in an interview with The Wall Street Journal as he watched the vote count in his Lahore headquarters. "I'd like to take this relationship further. We need to strengthen the relationship."
Sharif said he was confident he would find an agreement with the U.S. on controversial issues, such as American drone strikes against suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in the tribal areas.
The paper noted that the drone strikes were highly unpopular in Pakistan. "These are the concerns that the Pakistani people have," Sharif said when asked about the drone strikes. "We'll need to address these concerns. I'm very hopeful and confident about that." He also said Pakistan needed good relations with Afghanistan. "We will be supporting it as a whole.
e have no intention to take any sides there."
Turning to India, Sharif noted that, before army chief General Pervez Musharraf ousted him in a 1999 coup, he worked hard toward a detente with New Delhi. "We'll pick the threads where we left. We want to move toward better relations with India, to resolve the remaining issues through peaceful means, including that of Kashmir," he said. (APP)