Imran Khan’s party wants PM Modi, Gavaskar, Kapil Dev at oath-taking ceremony
A final decision on inviting foreign dignitaries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be made by the Foreign Office, spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said on phone from Islamabad.india Updated: Aug 01, 2018 20:22 IST
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) plans to invite former cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Navjot Sidhu and Bollywood star Aamir Khan to the swearing-in of Imran Khan as the next premier, a party spokesman said on Wednesday.
A final decision on inviting foreign dignitaries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be made by the Foreign Office, spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said on phone from Islamabad.
“Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sidhu and Aamir Khan – these four people will be invited. The Foreign Office will decide on the foreign dignitaries,” Chaudhry said.
It was not immediately clear when the invitations would be sent to the former cricketers and Aamir Khan, with Imran Khan’s inauguration expected to be held on August 11.
The PTI has emerged the single largest party in the National Assembly but it is still in talks with several smaller parties and independent candidates to secure the required numbers to form government.
Chaudhry earlier tweeted that speculation in the media about foreign dignitaries attending the oath-taking ceremony were “not correct”. He added, “We have sought the advice of Foreign Office on the matter and will decide accordingly.”
PTI leaders said the party decided to seek the Foreign Office’s advice due to a variety of factors, including whether it would be possible to complete all formalities related to inviting foreign dignitaries in the short period of time before the swearing-in.
PTI leaders met foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of inviting leaders of Saarc states, including Modi, and the heads of state of China and Turkey, Pakistan’s traditional allies.
However, the Foreign Office believes Pakistan could face embarrassment if the Indian leader declines the invitation, Dawn News channel reported.
In 2014, then Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif accepted Modi’s invitation to attend the Indian leader’s inauguration along with other Saarc leaders. But Sharif’s detractors used the visit to target him after bilateral ties plunged to a fresh low following a string of attacks blamed on Pakistan-based terror groups.
Modi called Khan on Monday to congratulate him on the PTI’s performance in the polls, and the party described the contact as a welcome gesture. Both leaders spoke about laying a new foundation for better relations. An Indian statement cited Modi as saying that he hoped democracy would take deeper roots in Pakistan.
First Published: Aug 01, 2018 19:23 IST