Home / Politics / Policy /  Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif yet to decide on Narendra Modi invite

Pakistan will announce later in the day whether its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will attend the swearing-in ceremony of prime minister-elect Narendra Modi early next week, Pakistan’s foreign office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said on Thursday.

Aslam told reporters at a press conference—televised by Indian news channels—that the invitation to Sharif to attend the swearing-in on 26 May was delivered by Indian high commissioner T.C.A Raghavan to the Pakistan foreign office on Wednesday.

“A decision whether the Prime Minister will attend will be taken later today," Aslam said. “It is normal practice to nominate or depute someone on behalf of the Prime Minister," if the Prime Minister was not attending.

If Sharif does make the trip to New Delhi, it would mark a first for the two nations.

In an unprecedented move, the incoming government invited heads of state and government of South Asian nations, including Pakistan, to attend Modi’s swearing in ceremony on Monday.

The foreign ministry has not yet confirmed who among the seven South Asian heads of state and government would be attending the ceremony.

Aslam said Pakistan hoped to have peaceful relations with India under the new government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“I would not like to speculate...(but) certainly we have expectations and the expectations stem from our interest to have peace in the region so that people of this region have peace and development," Aslam said.

Ties with Pakistan, under the outgoing Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, hit a low following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which prompted New Delhi to suspend a peace dialogue that had resumed after a 2004 visit to Pakistan by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The dialogue was resumed in February 2011 but stalled again following the beheading of several Indian soldiers along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

New Delhi is also upset that Islamabad hasn’t taken steps yet to normalize trade ties despite promising to do so. “We expect that the dialogue process will resume, that it will be meaningful...constructive...(and it will be) uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue," Aslam said.

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