Pak-India birthday diplomacy: Modi meets Nawaz after surprise arrival to Lahore

NewsPak-India birthday diplomacy: Modi meets Nawaz after surprise arrival to Lahore

LAHORE, Pakistan: The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his Pakistani Counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Jati Umra near Raiwind after he reached Lahore on a surprise visit on Friday afternoon.

It is the first time in last 11 years that any Indian prime minister has visited Pakistan. However, Modi’s visit is being termed as more of a private nature.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and other high-ranking officials accompanied the prime minister in talks with Narendra Modi.

Earlier Narendra Modi along with Nawaz Sharif reached Jati Umra via a helicopter from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore. Upon the arrival, Sharif introduced his family members to Modi.

Modi wished Sharif on his birthday and also congratulated him on the wedding of his grand-daughter, Mehr-un-Nisa (Daughter of Maryam Nawaz). He also presented a gift (traditional dresses) to Sharif’s grand daughter over her marriage.

The visit prime minister also met Nawaz Sharif’s mother.

Earlier in the day, Modi informed through his twitter account that he wished Sharif on his birthday day and also disclosed his intentions to have brief stay in Lahore.

In a statement, the Foreign Office Spokesman Qazi Khalilullah also said “On his way back from Kabul to New Delhi today, Prime Minister of India will stopover in Lahore to meet Prime Minister of Pakistan.”

Earlier, when Narendra Modi accompanied by a 120-member delegation reached Lahore airport, he was warmly welcomed by the Pakistani political leadership and high-ranking officials. Modi was also given a static guard of honour.

Modi spent several hours earlier in the day in Kabul where he went to inaugurate the new building of the Afghan parliament.

In his address to the Afghan Parliament, the Indian prime minister said that the Pakistan, India and Iran need to move together in order to attain shared goals and objectives.

“We hope that Pakistan will act as a bridge in South Asia,” Modi was quoted as saying by media reports.

The Indian prime minister further said that Afghanistan needs help of all neighbouring countries for its success.

Narendra Modi also held a discussion with the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during his stay in Kabul.

Last time, Sharif and Modi held a meeting was in November when the two leaders were in Paris to attend the 21st UN Climate Change Conference. However, the meeting didn’t last long.

But later the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Islamabad to participate in the Heart of Asia Conference on December 8-9. She also held separate meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

The meetings between Pakistani and Indian leadership ended with the announcement of resumption of bilateral dialogue process which had earlier been halted over Kashmir issue.

The current visit of the India prime minister to Pakistan was entirely unexpected which has triggered a new debate filled with mixed response from various sections of the society in both the countries.

The Indian Foreign Office has already confirmed the arrival of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Islamabad for attending the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in September 2016.

Security at Lahore airport

Meanwhile, the Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore was declared a VVIP zone, and its security was handed over to Pakistan Army and Rangers upon arrival of the Indian premier.

Likewise, all international flights were diverted to other airports.

Imran terms Nawaz-Modi meeting positive development

In a statement, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Pakistan, saying that the continuation of meetings between the prime ministers of both India and Pakistan would yield positive effects on bilateral relations.

Imran said that improvement in Pak-India relations was inevitable for sustainable and durable peace in the region. He said that after improvement of relations at high level, both the countries should make progress towards resolution of outstanding issues.

The PTI Chief said that the international community also viewed the meeting between Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart as a positive development. He said that in his recent visit to India he had invited the Indian prime minister to visit Pakistan.

Mati-Ullah is the Online Editor For DND. He is the real man to handle the team around the Country and get news from them and provide to you instantly.

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