Confirmed: Nawaz Sharif to attend Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi in Delhi, ending two-day suspense over his decision amid reports that there was stiff opposition from hardliners in the establishment.
A spokesperson of the Prime Minister Office and Pakistan Foreign Ministry confirmed that Sharif will travel to Delhi to attend Modi's oath taking ceremony on Monday. The delay in Sharif confirming his attendance in the oath ceremony is being attributed to opposition from hardliners in the army establishment.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. File pic
Sharif took the decision to accept the Indian invitation after a series of consultations with his close aides, the Dawn reported, citing unnamed sources. Modi has invited all the leaders of member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to the ceremony.
Prime Minister Sharif had telephoned Modi to congratulate him on his party's election victory and invited him to visit Pakistan after assuming office. Other key SAARC leaders, Sri Lankan President President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom have confirmed that they will attend the ceremony.
Earlier, Sharif's daughter Maryam tweeted that cordial relations with the new Indian government should be cultivated. "I personally think cordial relations with new Indian govt should be cultivated. Will help remove psychological barriers, fear & misgivings," she tweeted.
She followed it up with another tweet, "It's upon the leaders to lead their countries & ppl to peace & conciliation." This was read by analysts as a possible indication of her father's desire to travel to India.