Modi sent condolence letter to Nawaz after mother's demise

Published December 17, 2020
Former PM Nawaz Sharif and Indian PM Narendra Modi seen in Lahore in December 2015. ─ Photo: Former PM House/File
Former PM Nawaz Sharif and Indian PM Narendra Modi seen in Lahore in December 2015. ─ Photo: Former PM House/File

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote a letter to former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to extend condolences on the demise of the latter's mother last month, it emerged on Thursday.

The letter was forwarded to PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad last week with a request to be conveyed to her father Nawaz, who has been residing in London since last year.

Begum Shamim Akhtar, mother of Nawaz and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, had passed away in Britain on November 22. Her body was later flown to Pakistan and she was laid to rest at the family's Jati Umra estate in Lahore.

In the letter dated Nov 27, a copy of which was obtained by DawnNewsTV and confirmed by Indian High Commission sources, Modi conveyed "heartfelt condolences" to the former premier over his mother's death.

A copy of the letter written by Modi to Nawaz. — DawnNewsTV
A copy of the letter written by Modi to Nawaz. — DawnNewsTV

"Dear Mian Sahib, I am deeply saddened to learn about the demise of your mother Begum Shamim Akhtar," the Indian prime minister wrote. "My heartfelt condolences are with you in this hour of intense grief."

Modi recalled his interaction with Nawaz's mother during his brief visit to Lahore in 2015, saying: "Her simplicity and warmth was indeed very touching."

"In this moment of profound grief, I pray to the Almighty to bestow strength upon you and your family to bear this irreparable loss," he added.

In a separate letter sent to Maryam on Dec 11 at her Lahore residence, Indian Charge d'Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia requested her to convey the condolence message to Nawaz in London.

In December 2015, Modi had paid a brief surprise visit to Lahore on his way back to India from Kabul. He was received by Nawaz and both leaders had flown to Raiwind from Lahore airport in a chopper.

Modi then briefly attended Nawaz's grand daughter's wedding ceremony at his residence and held a brief meeting with his Pakistani counterpart at the time before departing for New Delhi.

This was the first time an Indian premier visited Pakistan in more than a decade.

Dialogue between Pakistan and India has been suspended since 2013. However, relations nose-dived after India illegally annexed occupied Kashmir on August 5 last year and Islamabad downgraded relations with New Delhi.

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