Explained: All about 1999 Lahore Declaration and how Pakistan ’violated’ it

  • In a rare admission, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepted that his country violated the 1999 Lahore Declaration, which he signed with his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Devesh Kumar
First Published29 May 2024
Former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee with former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif.
Former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee with former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif.

The 1999 Kargil War claimed the lives of 527 brave Indian soldiers. More than 1,300 were injured while protecting the country from invading Pakistani forces led by General Pervez Musharraf. The Indian government's first response to the war was 'shock' as just months before, the prime ministers of the two countries signed the historic Lahore Declaration, which laid out a vision of peace between India and Pakistan. 

In a rare admission, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepted that his country violated the 1999 Lahore Declaration, which he signed with his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "On May 28, 1998, Pakistan carried out five nuclear tests. After that, Vajpayee Saheb came here and made an agreement with us. But we violated that agreement...it was our fault," Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday, May 28, during a meeting of the PML-N general council. 

What was the 1999 Lahore Declaration? 

India and Pakistan conducted their respective nuclear tests in 1998, which raised global concerns regarding the historical tensions between the neighbouring countries. With some nudge from the international powers, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided to travel to Pakistan and sign the historic 1999 Lahore Declaration with Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif

The declaration outlined key steps both countries should take to improve bilateral relations and resolve outstanding issues, particularly the Kashmir conflict. The 1999 Lahore Declaration laid out various objectives, and both countries agreed to reaffirm their commitment to the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and their determination to implement the Simla Agreement in letter and spirit.

Key highlights of the 1999 Lahore Declaration

1. Nuclear and Conventional Safety: The two countries emphasised the need to take immediate steps to ensure the safe and authorised use of nuclear energy and reduce the risk of accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons.

2. Kashmir issue: India and Pakistan agreed to intensify their efforts to resolve all conflicts related to Kashmir, through proper diplomatic channels. 

3. Confidence-Building Measures: The two sides also agreed to keep the channels of communication open and engage in a structured dialogue to address all issues of concern to build mutual confidence

4. Commitment to multilateralism: Nawaz Sharif and Atal Bihar Vajpayee emphasised their commitment to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the multilateral body with the objective of increasing the welfare of people in South Asia. 

5. Terrorism: The Lahore Declaration also called for strict actions against all stakeholders of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. 

The Lahore Declaration was signed in February 1999, and just months later, the Pakistani forces started their manoeuvres in Kargil in May 1999. After more than two months of brutal war, the Indian forces reclaimed the crucial peaks, and Pakistan faced another humiliating defeat. 

 

 

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