New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday congratulated Nawaz Sharif for his party’s victory in general election. He also invited PML-N chief to visit India.

Nawaz Sharif returns to power in Pakistan

In an unusually quick response even as counting of votes was underway in Pakistan, Singh conveyed India's desire to work with him to chart a new course in Indo-Pak relations.

In a letter to Sharif, Prime Minister Singh said, "I look forward to working with you and your government to chart a new course and pursue a new destiny in the relations between our countries. I would also like to extend an invitation to you to visit India at a mutually convenient time."

He said, "People of India also welcome your publicly articulated commitment to a relationship between India and Pakistan that is defined by peace, friendship and cooperation.”

Singh, who addressed Sharif as "Dear Mian Saheb" in the letter, extended his "heartiest congratulations" on the PML-N's "emphatic victory".

Talking to the media on Saturday night in Lahore, Sharif had said that he worked hard for the peace process with India before former military ruler Pervez Musharraf deposed him in 1999. "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. During the course of his campaign, Sharif had also expressed his keenness to visit India at the earliest.

“The historic election was a significant victory for democracy in Pakistan. The people of India have watched with admiration the people of Pakistan braving violence and strife and turning out in large numbers to affirm their democratic rights," Singh said.

He wrote, "You have received a strong mandate to lead Pakistan towards a stable, peaceful and prosperous future. I wish you all success in meeting the hopes and expectations of your people as you prepare to assume your new responsibilities."

“The people and political parties of Pakistan deserve all credit for strengthening the framework of democracy by participating in the election despite enormous challenges,” the PM said. "My wife joins me in extending to you and Begum Saheba our best wishes," he added.


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