But for Kargil war, Atal Behari Vajpayee-Sharif had almost clinched peace: Nitish Kumar

Nitish Kumar

The initiatives of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif had almost clinched lasting peace between India and Pakistan, but for the Kargil war, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said.

"The task is tough due to unwanted forces and events like Kargil which come in between such efforts...more such initiatives are required to further promote a relationship of peace and brotherhood between India and Pakistan," Kumar, who made a successful week-long tour of Pakistan last month, said sharing his experience at a function here.

"Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif whom I met was full of pains that efforts made by him and Vajpayee which had almost succeeded in establishing lasting peace between the two countries was bedevilled by the Kargil war," he said.

Kumar, who was Union minister in the NDA government of Vajpayee, said he found a yearning for peace and brotherhood among members of civil society of that country.

The Bihar CM, who had led a delegation of politicians and officials to Pakistan from November 9-16 at the invitation of Chief Ministers of Punjab and Sind, stressed on making the journey between the two nations hassle-free.

Kumar appreciated the recent efforts of visa liberalisation and promotion of trade between two neighbours and emphasised on more frequent visits by politicians, professionals and mediapersons for people-to-people contact.

Kumar said the Bihar model of governance was deeply appreciated by political representatives of all the parties including PPP, PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) of cricketer Imran Khan), MQM and PML and members of civil society in Pakistan.

Kumar, who was given dinner by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Diwali night, said he hoped his visit would give a further push to the peace process between the two countries.

The chief minister, who visited Karachi, Islamabad, Sind and Punjab said he was touched by the warm reception accorded by the government and people everywhere. "I never felt that I am in a different country."

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