LONDON/ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said if the evidence of electoral rigging is in ballot bags, what proof the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has about the alleged rigging in the 2013 general election.

“If all the evidence is in ballot bags, what do you have? They asked for vote recount in the past, but what happened was that we ended up winning by a bigger margin,” he said. Pakistan cannot afford such sort of politics as being done by the PTI, the PM told reporters before leaving for Pakistan from London.

About recently held elections in cantonment boards, the Premier expressed satisfaction over the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) performance. He expressed optimism that the party will perform much better in the local bodies’ elections and win them with good margin. He claimed that results would be better if local government elections are held throughout Pakistan and that his party will perform even better in the next general elections.

About his visit to the United Kingdom, Nawaz Sharif said both Pakistan and Britain enjoy excellent relations. The prime minister said that Britain has always been a good friend of Pakistan, and that the two countries have always enjoyed a very warm relationship. Britain is particularly making contributions in the education sector of Pakistan, he added. He said that British Prime Minister David Cameron was going to contest elections, which is being seen as a “neck and neck” contest.

Speaking about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the prime minister said that this was not a loan but an investment on the part of China which will benefit Pakistanis. He hoped that the different projects included in the agreements signed with China will eliminate the power crisis in Pakistan while boosting the economy and providing employment opportunities to the people of Balochistan and other areas that the corridor passes through.

He said China’s investment in Pakistan under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project envisages construction of motorways and installation of energy projects. He said new Gwadar city will be built with the Chinese cooperation whose effects will reach the entire country.

On the other hand, in a rare rebuke to India, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the neighbouring country has failed to respond to Pakistan’s desire for good relations. “Our desire for good neighbourly relations with India has not been reciprocated,” Sharif told the Saudi Gazette in an interview during a recent visit to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Nawaz Sharif made improving relations with India a priority when he swept to power for a third time (in 2013), raising hopes that a Pakistani civilian government would finally wrest control of foreign policy. The nuclear-armed neighbours’ top diplomats met in Pakistan last month, after at least a dozen people were killed in a series of exchanges of fire along their disputed border, but there has been little sign of progress in ties.

Sharif said his acceptance of an invitation last May to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration was “an exceptional decision”. But months later, India withdrew from talks after Pakistan’s ambassador to India met Kashmiri politicians.

Sharif said that was a “frivolous pretext”. “There is no sign of India desiring resumption of dialogue with us,” he said. He said Pakistan was ready for “constructive dialogue for negotiated settlement of all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir”.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has strongly condemned the killing of Karachi University’s Assistant Professor Dr Syed Waheedur Rehman and sought report into the incident.

In a message, he said the government is making sincere efforts to eliminate militant and criminal elements from Karachi and expressed the confidence that the situation in the metropolitan city would improve.