Pak FM makes light of no invitation for Imran Khan | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 29, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:48 AM, May 29, 2019


Pak FM makes light of no invitation for Imran Khan

Pakistan has played down a decision by the Indian government not to invite Prime Minister Imran Khan to tomorrow’s swearing-in ceremony of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, saying India’s “internal politics” did not permit him to extend an invitation.

“His [Modi’s] entire focus [during the election campaign] was on Pakistan-bashing. It was unwise to expect that he can get rid of this narrative [soon],” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a news channel.

Earlier, a Reuters report had said New Delhi would not invite PM Khan to Modi’s oath-taking ceremony.

An Indian government statement said the leaders of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan — all members of the little-known Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Econo­mic Cooperation — had been invited to Modi’s swearing-in.

All nations from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, which includes Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Maldives, were invited to the swearing-in ceremony for Modi’s first term in 2014.

Speaking at a Geo News programme on Monday evening, Qureshi said the Indian PM had congratulated Imran Khan after he won the general election last year and wrote a letter as well.

He said relations between countries were based on reciprocity and PM Khan had congratulated Modi as a goodwill gesture. He said a meeting for the sake of dialogue to find a solution to the Kashmir issue, as well as Siachen and Sir Creek disputes, would have been a significant measure instead of attending the swearing-in ceremony.

“Finding a new way [to resume dialogue] is also essential for them [India],” Qureshi said. “If he [Modi] wants development of this region...the only way is to sit with Pakistan to find a solution,” he added.

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