Even as the Centre decided to boycott the Pakistan National Day event at its high commission in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday reportedly extended his greetings to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan.
Taking to Twitter, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief said that he received a message from PM Modi on the occasion. “I extend my greetings and best wishes to the people of Pakistan on the National Day of Pakistan. It is time that the people of the sub-continent work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive and prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence,” PM Modi reportedly told Khan.
Received msg from PM Modi: “I extend my greetings & best wishes to the people of Pakistan on the National Day of Pakistan. It is time that ppl of Sub-continent work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive & prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence”
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 22, 2019
PM Modi’s message to Khan comes in the wake of tensions between India and Pakistan ever since the February 14 Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy. Forty jawans were killed in the attack for which Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility. This was followed by the Balakot airstrikes by the Indian Air Force in which, the government claimed, nearly 300 terrorists were killed on the Pakistani soil. Pakistan retaliated the next day by unsuccessfully attempting to target Indian military installations.
India objected to the invitation extended to several separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir for the reception at the Pakistan High Commission. The External Affairs Ministry said no Indian representative will attend similar events in Islamabad as well. However, Pakistani officials said no prominent Hurriyat Conference leader attended the reception.
In the past few years, India’s representation at the annual event always remained at the level of a union minister. This year, however, Indian government officials decided to stay away from the reception scheduled on the eve of Pakistan National Day, which is celebrated on March 23. “The government of India has decided not to send any official representative to the Pakistan National Day event at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi,” an official was quoted as saying by PTI.
With PTI inputs