Visiting Pak MPs feel 'slighted' by LS Speaker

Visiting Pak MPs feel 'slighted' by LS Speaker

The visit by a dozen Pakistani MPs to the Indian Parliament “turned sour” as they felt “due respect” was not given to them by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

The 12-member delegation led by Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, member of Pakistan’s National Assembly and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs was in India as part of the Track-II initiative involving Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar.

The Speaker’s office clarified that the Pakistani delegation was on a private visit to India.
Aiyar, a Rajya Sabha member of the Congress, also concurred saying the visit by Pakistani MPs was “a purely private initiative”.

Parliament sources said a meeting with the Speaker was also organised at the request of the visiting delegation but they did not reach the venue at the appointed hour.

“I was sitting there, waiting. But, nobody came,” Mahajan told reporters later.
The visiting delegation watched the proceedings from the viewers’ gallery meant for the guests of the Speaker.

The Pakistani MPs were under the impression that they were seated in the Speaker’s Box, reserved for “official delegations” and would be introduced to the House by Mahajan.

“Nobody mentioned us. We sat in the gallery. In other Parliaments the Speaker announces and introduces the delegates. We sat for 20 minutes but there was no
announcement, no welcome,” Rasheed Gudlam, a member of the Pakistani delegation
told reporters outside Parliament.

Parliament officials expressed their displeasure over Pakistani MPs not keeping their appointment with the Speaker.

“Their request for a meeting was accepted at short notice. The Speaker took time out of her busy schedule, but the visitors were more interested in speaking to the media,” an official said.

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