LAHORE – Massive investment in education and provision of employment opportunities to the people was the only log-term solution to the problem of terrorism, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has written back to Afghan President Hamid Karzai in response to a recent letter from him.

“Use of mere force against those engaged in acts of militancy and terrorism would not suffice,” says an excerpt from Nawaz’ letter to the Afghan leader — who after the Malala episode had sent letters to many other Pakistani political and religious leaders as well.

“A far more comprehensive approach that includes massive investment in education, job creation and administrative reforms and ensuring good governance are essential to bring about a meaningful change in the attitudes and the thinking of people,” the PML-N leader said.

Condemning the brutal attack on Malala Yousafzai, President Karzai in his letter had urged the need for joint action and close cooperation between the two countries to effectively fight the menaces of terrorism.

“Both our countries have suffered enormously from the scourge of terrorism,” Nawaz said in his response. Terming terrorism a big challenge, he said that it was need of the hour that all right thinking people, especially the scholars and men of letters, come together and engage in a serious dialogue on ways and means to overcoming this menace.

Expressing his gratitude to President Karzai for sharing his thoughts on the attack against innocent Malala, the PML-N president said he was in full agreement with the president that the attack was a crime that could not be ignored, irrespective of one’s personal beliefs and political affiliations.

He said there could be no justification for acts of terror. “This is not only an attack on an innocent person by misguided or ignorant elements, but a symptom of a malaise that has afflicted society in many Muslim countries, including Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he concluded.

Also on Sunday, Nawaz Sharif warned the government against any attempt to rig the coming elections. Talking to a senior party leader from Khanewal, Rana Abdur Rehman, he stressed the need for timely elections, saying that fair elections were a prerequisite to strengthening the country and democracy.

The PML-N chief said those making hollow promises to the people stood exposed even much before the elections. According to him, the PPP-led government had given nothing to the masses except loadshedding, unemployment, price-hike and corruption, besides making the country a beggar, thereby putting the sovereignty and dignity of Pakistan at stake.

Nawaz said Pakistan belonged to everyone and it was duty of all the citizens to ensure its security and sovereignty. He recalled that during its two tenures, the PML-N government had served the people well and it was determined to repeat its previous performance if returned to power.

He claimed that the PML-N was the only party that could overcome the various crises being faced by the country. He asked the party leaders to start preparations for elections, telling them that they would soon be given a comprehensive manifesto along with a roadmap to resolve people’s problems.