A leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party termed Modi’s telephone call congratulating Khan on his victory a ‘welcome sign’.
Lahore: Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is considering inviting the leaders of the SAARC countries, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to his oath-taking ceremony next month, a party official said Tuesday.
The PTI, led by 65-year-old Khan, has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly after the 25 July elections, but it is still short of numbers to form the government on its own. Khan Monday said that he would take oath as prime minister on 11 August.
“The core committee of Tehreek-e-Insaf is considering inviting the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) heads including Mr Modi and a decision on this is expected shortly,” a leader of Khan’s party said.
He also termed Modi’s telephone call to Khan on his victory in the 2018 polls a welcoming sign to begin a new chapter in relations between the two countries.
Spokesperson for Khan’s party Fawad Chaudhry also did not rule out inviting Modi to the swearing-in ceremony.
“A decision about it will be taken by the party in consultation with the foreign ministry in coming days,” he said.
Modi Monday telephoned Khan to congratulate him on his party’s victory in the general elections and hoped that “Pakistan and India will work to open a new chapter in bilateral ties”.
Khan thanked Modi for his wishes and emphasised that disputes should be resolved through dialogue.
“Wars and bloodshed instead of resolving disputes lead to tragedies,” Khan is reported to have said.
Khan, in his victory speech last week, had also said that better relations between Pakistan and India would be “good for all of us”.
“If India’s leadership is ready, we are ready to improve ties with India. If you take one step forward, we will take two steps forward,” he had said.
Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif had travelled to New Delhi to attend Modi’s oath-taking ceremony, and the Indian premier had in December 2015 made a stopover in Lahore to greet his counterpart on his birthday.
However, India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place.
The ties between the two countries got strained after terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups 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.
The two sides often accuse each other of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, resulting in civilian casualties. – PTI
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