New Delhi: Indian high commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal will represent the country at the swearing-in ceremony of Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan’s new prime minister on Wednesday, foreign minister Salman Khurshid said.
Speculation had been rife over who would represent India at the event after Sharif, in interactions with Indian journalists in Lahore soon after his election on 12 May, said he would be happy to invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan for his oath-taking ceremony.
Describing the ceremony, which will see the transition of power from one democratically elected government to another for the first time in Pakistan’s history, as a “local event”, Khurshid said Pakistan had not sent any formal invitation to India to attend the event.
“As I understand, I think, it is a local event. Missions will all be represented. I am not sure if there are any invites for anybody to be coming. Certainly not to our knowledge and, therefore, there wasn’t any need to take a decision on this,” Khurshid said on Tuesday when asked if the government had decided who would represent India at the ceremony.
“Our high commissioner (Sabharwal) was in India. We talked this morning and he is going back to attend the swearing-in as other high commissioners would,” Khurshid said.
Indian officials have consistently maintained there has been no formal invitation from Pakistan for the event.
Prime Minister Singh’s special envoy Satinder Lambah met Sharif in Lahore on 27 May to discuss ways to take forward the India-Pakistan dialogue process to address issues of concern between the two countries.
Lambah had travelled to Lahore as a follow up of Singh’s conversation with Sharif soon after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief had been declared elected, to congratulate him on his party’s poll victory.