Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi speaks during a meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan August 9, 2017. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

On the eve of their Independence Day, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi blamed India for the impasse in bilateral ties, citing India’s “expansionist designs” as the “main hurdle” in cordial relations between the two neighbours.

Pakistan desires positive and constructive relations with all countries based on sovereign equality”- said Abbasi while addressing his nation on its 70th Independence Day.

To quote him, “Our government has invariably made efforts to initiate the process of meaningful dialogue and adoption of peaceful means to resolve the issues but unfortunately, the expansionist designs of India have remained the main hurdle in this regard.”

Chinese vice premier Wang Yang was also present at the celebrations as a “special guest” of the country. Yang arrived in Pakistan on Monday for the event.

He applauded the friendly relations between China and Pakistan and said that China and Pakistan have “always stood by each other in difficult times and their friendship will stand the test of time and grow with coming generations.”

Abbasi took office as Pakistan’s 18th Prime Minister on 1 August after the Supreme Court disqualified the incumbent Nawaz Sharif for dishonesty following the Panama papers scandal.

”The people of South Asia have suffered enormously in the last fifty years due to the festering conflicts. Until and unless those conflicts are resolved amicably the people of the region cannot achieve prosperity and progress,” he said.

President Mamnoon Hussain called for unity among the people while addressing them.

He said it is time to forget “personal grievances” and stand by the Constitution, apparently referring to Sharif’s ouster as prime minister and his charge that his removal was “pre-planned“.

Meanwhile, the celebration in Pakistan kicked off at midnight when the Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa hoisted a huge national flag at the Attari-Wagah border.

The hoisted flag is 400 feet high, thus making the record of being the highest in South Asia.


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