Shehbaz cancels India visit

New Delhi - While the Indian government will welcome Pakistani visitors to the urs of Nizamuddin Auliya later this week, missing among the guests will be Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shehbaz Sharif, reported Times of India on Tuesday.
Shehbaz had been invited for the urs and after briefly discussing the possibility of a meeting between him and PM Narendra Modi, both sides seem to have given up on his visit.
A visit by Shehbaz could have helped provide an impetus to religious tourism, or dargah diplomacy as it has come to be known as, which both sides are seeking to facilitate after they decided to resume the composite dialogue process last month under the new name of comprehensive bilateral dialogue.
As reported by TOI on December 20, Shehbaz had been invited for the urs by the chief khadim of Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah Tahir Nizami. “The response was very positive initially but now it seems he is not coming,” said Nizami. After Modi dropping by in Lahore on Christmas, a visit by Shehbaz, both sides felt, could have further contributed to the optics of India’s re-engagement with Pakistan.
While it is not known how much, if at all, the Pathankot attack was a factor in Shehbaz deciding to not travel to Delhi, it is a fact that Pakistan wants the foreign secretaries to meet before any other engagement between the 2 countries.
Online adds: President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday greeted their Indian counterparts on India’s 67th Republic Day, wishing the country “stability” and “prosperity”.
“President and PM of Pakistan greeted Indian counterparts (President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi) on India’s 67th Republic Day, wishing India stability and prosperity,” a Pakistani government source said.
India, Pakistan troops exchange sweets along LoC
Indian and Pakistani troops deployed along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir exchanged sweets on the occasion of Republic Day.
Personnel of India’s 12 Infantry Brigade of the Army exchanged sweets with their Pakistani counterparts at Kaman Post in Uri sector on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road, defence officials said.
They said sweets were also exchanged with Pakistani troops at Teetwal in Tangdhar sector of Kashmir.
Despite ceasefire violations by India’s BSF, the exchange of sweets between Army personnel of two rival countries along the LoC on their respective days of national importance has been a regular feature.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt