A group of MPs of Pakistan, on a visit to parliament on Friday, failed to meet Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, despite a scheduled appointment.
While the Lok Sabha officials blamed it on a “lack of communication”, Pak MPs alleged “disrespect”, casting a shadow on the Indo-Pak parliamentary ties.
The delegation comprising of 12 MPs had come on a private visit to parliament as a part of the Indo-Pak parliamentary friendship forum. Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyer had arranged the tour.
While the delegation was provided a separate room in parliament complex and watched Lok Sabha proceedings from the exclusive Speaker’s Gallery, the two sides disconnected over the meeting with the Speaker.
According to the Pak delegates, the appointment was at 1 PM and they came to Speaker’s office barely six-seven minutes late but found she had left. A Lok Sabha official, however, added, “The Speaker waited for almost 10 minutes for them but the MPs did not come due to lack of communication on their part.”
The group also alleged that their names were not mentioned in the Lok Sabha by the Speaker to which, the Speaker’s office pointed out that the names of foreign dignitaries are announced when they are on official visits.
While some Pakistani MPs alleged “disrespect”, Aiyer claimed the Speaker was very courteous. When asked about the allegations, parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu quipped, "I am concerned about Indian Parliament. I am concerned about my people. I don't know".
Government sources said it was no official delegation of MPs from Pakistan. had it been so, they would have been accorded all protocol preferences.