On Pakistan’s invite for Manmohan Singh, Congress points to his record as PM
Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will spell out his stand on Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s video invite to travel across the border for the Kartarpur corridor event only after receiving a formal invitation, a key aide of the former prime minister said on Monday.
“Dr Singh has not received the invitation yet. He will decide at that point of time, if invited,” the former prime minister’s aide said.
But Congress leaders indicated that Dr Singh is unlikely to accept Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s offer.
“For a Prime Minister who did not travel to Pakistan despite many invites, I believe that it is unlikely that Dr Manmohan Singh will rush to accept this invitation,” said a Congress leader, stressing that the party leaders were conscious of the Pakistan attempt to use the invite to its advantage.
WATCH | Pakistan invites ex-PM Manmohan Singh for Kartarpur corridor inauguration
“This is clear,” said another leader, “given how Qureshi tried to turn the invitation into a spectacle with his public invitation before even sending a formal invite”.
And all this, people familiar with Dr Singh’s approach to invitations from Pakistan said, comes days after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s belligerent speech at the United Nations General Assembly session that ran down India’s human rights track record and warned that tensions between the two countries could escalate into a nuclear war.
The Congress had soon after backed the “erudite, to the point” rebuttal by a young diplomat posted at the permanent Indian Mission at UN, Vidisha Maitra. “The entire nation as indeed the Congress Party stands by the reply furnished by her and the government of India,” the Congress had said in its formal reaction to Imran Khan’s speech.
The closest that Dr Manmohan Singh had come to a Pakistan visit - and possibly to Gah in Punjab where he was born - was in 2005-06 when an agreement on Kashmir, worked through the back-channels with the then President Gen Pervez Musharraf, looked imminent. This window closed the next year when Musharraf, through his interlocutor, conveyed in March 2007 that the pact could not be worked out due to crisis in Pakistan.