Pakistan PM-designate Imran Khan may invite PM Narendra Modi for his oath ceremony

Pakistan PM-designate Imran Khan may invite PM Narendra Modi for his oath ceremony

LAHORE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may attend the swearing-in ceremony of Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan as the next Prime Minister of the neighbouring country in the light of reports that his party PTI was considering to invite all SAARC leaders.

According to news agency PTI, Khan’s party, which emerged as the single largest party after parliamentary polls in Pakistan, is considering sending an invite to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) heads including PM Modi.

A decision in this regard is likely to be taken shortly, a PTI leader was quoted as saying.

Despite emerging as the largest party, 65-year-old Khan’s PTI is still short of numbers to form the government on its own.

Addressing a press brining, Khan had on Monday hinted that he would take oath as Prime Minister on August 11.

In a goodwill gesture, PM Modi too called up Khan and congratulated him for his victory in the polls.

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Khan, on his part, termed PM Modi’s telephone call as a welcoming sign, which marked the beginning of a new chapter in relations between the two countries.

Fawad Chaudhry, the spokesperson of PTI, also did not rule out inviting PM 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 yesterday 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”.

Speaking about PM Modi’s call, the PTI spokesperson said that Khan thanked Indian PM for his wishes and emphasised that disputes should be resolved through dialogue.

“Wars and bloodshed instead of resolving disputes lead to tragedies,” Khan had said.

Khan in his victory speech had also said that better relations between Pakistan and India would be “good for all of us”.

The relations between India and Pakistan remained tense since 2014. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had travelled to 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.

The IndiaPakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place.

The ties between the two countries had strained after the 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.