Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday said that it has invited Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and cricketers Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar to attend Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony. The party today asked the Foreign Office to apprise it on whether the heads of the state, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, could be invited for the event. Aamir Khan, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have already been invited, said PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry.
Sources privy to the meeting between Foreign Office and some senior PTI leaders told DawnNewsTv that the party wished to know which foreign leaders it would be possible to invite given the short period of time before the event takes place. The sources told the Pakistani news channel that PTI leaders wished to invite the heads of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) member states – including Prime Minister Modi – as well as leaders of China and Turkey.
However, members of the FO maintained that calling foreign leaders to the oath-taking ceremony is a sensitive matter and all perspectives need to be taken into consideration, the sources said.
The news channel has further quoted the sources as saying that initial arguments from the FO suggested that it would be an embarrassment for Pakistan if the Indian Prime Minister declined the invitation.
Meanwhile, PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said the party was awaiting a response from the FO on the issue.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Hussain Haroon refused to comment on whether an invitation would be extended to Prime Minister Modi, reports PTI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Monday telephoned Imran Khan to congratulate him on his party’s win in the Pakistan general elections. PM Modi had hoped that “Pakistan and India will work to open a new chapter in bilateral ties”. Khan had also thanked Modi for his wishes and emphasised that disputes should be resolved through dialogue.
65-year-old Khan’s PTI emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly after the July 25 elections and it is likely to form the government with the support of its allies and independents.
It could be recalled that in 2014, the then prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif had travelled to New Delhi to attend PM Modi’s oath-taking ceremony. Modi had also made a brief stopover in Lahore to greet his counterpart on his birthday.
The relationship between the two countries has suffered after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016 and India’s surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The bilateral ties further deteriorated after the sentencing of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to death by a military court in April last year.
With PTI inputs