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Was ousted because of peace talks with India, says Sharif

New York, September 28
Ahead of crucial talks with his Indian counterpart, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today said he was ousted from power in a military coup in 1999 because he started peace talks with India.

Sharif made these remarks in his address to the Pakistani American community here.

He is here to attend the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.

He said he was "ousted from power" by the military leadership during his last stint as premier because he had initiated a process of peace and friendship with India.

"What mistake did I make?" he said, adding he was committed to peace with India and Afghanistan.

Sharif was ousted from power in 1999 when the then army chief Pervez Musharraf led a military coup against his government after the two developed differences
in the wake of the Kargil conflict.

The Pakistani leader said he believed that if there was peace in Afghanistan and India, there would be peace in Pakistan too.

In his address, Sharif is believed to have told the Pakistani American community that his government, which was voted to power with an overwhelming majority in May, favours peace and a policy of non-interference with India and Afghanistan.

At the same time, Pakistan expects its neighbours not to interfere in its affairs, he said.

"It is only then that long-term peace and stability in the region can be achieved," he said.

Sharif also called for a reasonable curb on defence expenditure in the region, which he acknowledged was very high. PTI

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