ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday said the journalists and dignitaries part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's entourage on his recent surprise visit to Pakistan were not allowed outside the Lahore airport.
Responding to criticism from certain sections of media regarding violation of immigration protocol during Modi's Lahore visit, Aziz said only the Indian PM and 11 of his personal staff members were given a 72-hour visa, and the full immigration process was followed in this regard.
Giving a policy statement in Senate on the Nawaz-Modi Jati Umra meeting, the adviser clarified that no 'foreigner' was allowed to go outside the airport without valid visa, contrary to what had been reported in certain sections of the media.
He said the meeting between the two prime ministers in Lahore was a "great goodwill gesture" that can pave the way for better relations between the two countries.
Aziz said it was decided that foreign secretaries of both countries would meet in Islamabad on Jan 14-15, 2016.
The adviser said the government was not hiding facts from the public, adding that the upward trajectory in Indo-Pak ties was a result of "effective diplomacy."
COAS's Kabul visit
When questioned by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Raheel Sharif's recent visit to Afghanistan, Aziz said he could not comment because the visit was under the domain of the ministry of defence, not the ministry of foreign affairs.
He added that the army chief's trip was reported widely in press, to which the Senate chief expressed displeasure, saying the "House does not need press reports."