Indian envoy in Pak to attend Nawaz Sharif swearing-in

Indian envoy in Pak to attend Nawaz Sharif swearing-in

India has finally decided against deputing any high-profile representative to Wednesday’s swearing-in of Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister of Pakistan for a third term.

Instead, India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal will attend the ceremony.

After Sharif told some journalists in Lahore on May 13 last that he would be happy to invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the event in Islamabad, speculation has been rife about whom New Delhi would nominate for the momentous occasion of the transition of power from a democratically elected government to another, a first in the history of Pakistan.

Though New Delhi was quick to scotch speculation about Singh attending the swearing-in, possibility of him assigning a senior Union Minister or a high-profile leader of the ruling Congress to represent India was not ruled out.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said that New Delhi’s envoy to Islamabad, like the diplomats of other countries, would attend the ceremony as the representative of India.

Khurshid also termed Sharif’s swearing-in ceremony as a “local event”.

“As I understand, I think, it is a local event. Missions will all be represented. I am not sure if there are any invites for anybody to be coming. Certainly not to our knowledge and, therefore, there wasn’t any need to take decision on this,” the External Affairs Minister told journalists.

“Our High Commissioner was here. We talked this morning and he is going back to attend the swearing-in as other High Commissioners would,” added Khurshid.

Singh was quick to congratulate Sharif on May 12 last after the latter led his Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) to victory in last month’s elections in Pakistan. The Prime Minister also invited the PML (N) chief for a visit to India. Sharif reciprocated the gesture.

Singh’s Special Envoy S K Lambah, however, called on Sharif on May 27 last and discussed “ways to take the dialogue process forward to address all issues of concern to the two countries”.