Sharif's India visit backed by daughter, Pak journos

Sharif's India visit backed by daughter, Pak journos

'It will help remove psychological barriers and misgivings'

Sharif's India visit backed by daughter, Pak journos

The excitement had been building up ever since the formal invite was sent on May 21 to Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Twitter was abuzz with speculation, and even exhortations to Sharif to accept the invite to attend Narendra Modi’s oath-taking ceremony as the new Indian prime minister.

Among those who pressed Sharif to accept the invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony was Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif, a politician of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).

“I personally think cordial relations with new Indian government should be cultivated. It will help remove psychological barriers, fear and misgivings,” Maryam Sharif tweeted on Friday. After her father accepted the invite, she tweeted on Saturday: “Aggression is easy to start but difficult to end... Brutality and force are tools of the immoral ...” on the hashtag “pakindiarelations”.

Former Pakistan envoy to the US Sherry Rehman had tweeted on May 21: “It won’t change the game, not yet, but prime minister Sharif may start an important journey for India and Pakistan by accepting Modi’s invite for oath-taking.

On Saturday, she posted: “Good news, moving on from stalemate”. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi posted: “Glad that Sharif accepted. Congress party would like most to see improved relations with Pakistan. However, caution recommended!”

Mosharraf Zaidi, a leading Pakistani columnist, diplomat and government advisor, posted: “Indian friends should know the context of PM Sharif’s decision: two bomb attacks last night (Friday) in Islamabad and new hostilities with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in Waziristan.”

“Incredibly courageous of PM Sharif to go to Delhi. All Pakistanis must support him. Normalization is the only way forward for South Asia,” he wrote.

Senior Indian journalist Siddharth Varadarajan posted: “A giant leap for Modi and Nawaz Sharif, a small step for India, Pakistan. But here’s hoping that from small steps will come bigger ones.” Even Pakistani daily The Nation, in an editorial Saturday, exhorted “Say Yes, Prime Minister”.

“No one is claiming that the prime minister’s visit to India, if it does take place, will be followed by a series of historical bilateral discussions. However, by accepting the invitation, Pakistan will be demonstrating that it finds the idea appealing, and is willing to work towards making it a reality. The world is watching. The ball is in our court. No one likes a spoilsport. Let’s play,” it wrote.