NEW DELHI: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, unveiled its manifesto ahead of the February 8 general elections, emphasising the restoration of Article 370 as a key step for normalising ties with India. The manifesto also stated that India-Pakistan relations should be anchored in mutual respect and a shared vision for regional stability and economic growth.
"PMLN strongly holds the position that normalisation of ties with India cannot take place until New Delhi reverses the unilateral measures taken on August 5th, 2019 to restore Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir," the manifesto read.
India has told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir is an inalienable and integral part of the country. Article 370, which was abrogated by India's Parliament in 2019, is entirely a matter of India as well as its Constitution, as the Ministry of External Affairs has reiterated previously.
Regarding China, the PML-N manifesto talks about forging even closer ties and delivering the next phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on time.
The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan’s Balochistan with China’s Xinjiang province, is opposed by India as it would be built through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Interestingly, the manifesto talks about working with the US to counter terrorism and about combating violence against minorities and empowering women.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's former Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has been urging Nawaz Sharif to get into a debate with him in public, like it is done in the West for both of them to put forth their views in public.
"Globally, presidential and prime ministerial candidates participate in televised debates, providing voters with crucial insights. This transparency is vital for an informed electorate ahead of the voting process," Bilawal said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s election commission has said that 90,000 polling stations cater to 128 million voters.