Pakistan’s Tehreek-i-Insaf (PT) is contemplating inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the oath-taking ceremony of PM-elect Imran Khan on August 11, reported news agency PTI. The party is planning to invite heads of state of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations, of which India is also a member, to the event.
A decision in this regard is likely to be taken in the coming days.
The move, if it takes place, will be a replication of what PM Modi did in 2014 when leaders of all SAARC nations were invited to India including then Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif who attended the oath-taking ceremony in New Delhi.
“The core committee of Tehreek-i-Insaf is considering inviting the SAARC heads including Mr Modi and a decision on this is expected shortly,” a leader of Khan’s party told PTI.
PM Modi had earlier called Khan to congratulate him on his victory in the general elections. “They recalled their meeting in December 2015 and conversation from that time…and hoped to pick up the thread from there,” a top source told The Indian Express. “Prime Minister expressed hope that democracy will take deeper roots in Pakistan,” said an official statement by the Ministry of External Affairs, indicating India’s support to the democratic process in Pakistan, where political parties have expressed concerns over its fairness.
Khan thanked Modi for his wishes and emphasised that disputes should be resolved through dialogue. Leaders from Imran Khan’s party termed the phone call a positive sign to begin a new chapter between the two nations.
The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups on Uri garrison in 2016 and India’s surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The sentencing of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to death by a military court in April last year further deteriorated bilateral ties. Meanwhile, increased cases of ceasefire violations along the international border have also worsened the relations.