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Nawaz Sharif invited for Modi's swearing-in ceremony

Updated May 21, 2014 08:09pm
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been invited along with heads of government of all SAARC member countries to attend the ceremony.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been invited along with heads of government of all SAARC member countries to attend the ceremony.

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been invited to attend the oath-taking ceremony of India’s next prime minister Narendra Modi on May 26, sources in the Pakistani Foreign Office confirmed Wednesday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also confirmed the invitation.

BJP spokeswoman Nirmala Sitharaman said all heads of government from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries “have been given invitations to be present at Mr Modi’s swearing in.”

“Yes we have received a formal invitation from the Indian government through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad,” a top source at the Pakistani foreign office told Dawn.com.

However, she said no decision had yet been taken as to who would represent Pakistan in the ceremony.

Sources said Sharif would consult his close aides before taking a decision on the invitation.

The BJP, a Hindu nationalist party, emerged victorious in the general elections held in the world’s largest democracy during the past two months.

Following the BJP’s sweeping victory at the polls, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had phoned the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to congratulate him on his party’s win in the elections.

Sharif, who’s Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) came to power in the May 2013 general elections, also extended an invitation to Modi to visit Pakistan.

Soon after his party’s victory at the polls last year, Sharif had hinted at inviting his then-Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh at his oath-taking ceremony but no formal invitation was extended.

—with reporting by Mateen Haider from Islamabad