Islamabad: A top leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said today that the party has asked the Foreign Office to apprise it on whether foreign heads of state, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, could be invited to Imran Khan’s oath taking ceremony, a media report said today.
The PTI, led by 65-year-old Khan, has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly after the July 25 elections and it is likely to form the government with the support of its allies and independents. Khan has said that he would take oath as prime minister on August 11.
The PTI had asked the Foreign Office if it would be possible to invite foreign dignitaries, including Prime Minister Modi, given the short period of time before the ceremony takes place, Dawn reported quoting PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry. Chaudhry said that the party was awaiting a response from the FO.
On Monday, Prime Minister Modi 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.
Indian celebrities like Bollywood star Amir Khan and cricketers Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavasker have been invited by the party for the ceremony, he said while talking to the media outside the Supreme Court, where he had gone to meet Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.
The then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had travelled to New Delhi to attend Modi’s oath taking ceremony in 2014 and the Indian premier had in December 2015 made a brief stopover in Lahore to greet his counterpart on his birthday. The India-Pakistan 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. In his victory speech, Khan had said that better relations between Pakistan and India would be “good for all of us”.