Imran Khan Says PM Modi Sent Greetings on Eve of Pakistan’s National Day, Tweets His Message
New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said he had received a message from PM Narendra Modi in which he extended his best wishes on the eve of the National Day of Pakistan.
Taking to Twitter, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief said that he received a message from PM Modi that talked about peace and called upon people in the sub-continent to work together.
“I extend my greetings and best wishes to the people of Pakistan on the National Day of Pakistan. It is time that the people of the sub-continent work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive and prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence,” PM Modi reportedly told Khan.
People familiar with developments in New Delhi said Modi’s message was a customary one sent to heads of government or state on national days and noted that the focus was on terrorism.
Modi's message to Khan comes in the midst of severe strain in ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours following the Pulwama attack and the subsequent air strikes by India on a JeM terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot.
The Pakistan PM’s tweet came hours after India boycotted a reception at the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi to mark Pakistan's National Day over invitation extended to separatists. The External Affairs Ministry said no Indian representative will attend similar events in Islamabad as well.
Sources said India boycotted the events for extending invitation to Hurriyat leaders and not because of any other issue.
The Congress asked the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to confirm if PM Modi has exchanged greetings with his Pakistani counterpart.
"I would hope the @PMOIndia clarifies that what Imran Khan has tweeted is the correct version of greetings exchanged or whether if they have been exchanged at all, especially after the function was boycotted in India by the govt. The nation would want to know...," Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi.
Pakistani envoy Sohail Mahmood, in an address at the reception here, said Pakistan and India need to consolidate the process of de-escalation and stabilise the ties against further shocks, hoping that the "long winter" in bilateral relations would come to an early end.
He said both the countries should act with "wisdom" to normalise ties, asserting that "coercive measures" have not worked in the past and will not work in the future.
He said the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, return of the two High Commissioners to their respective missions, and bilateral meetings on the Kartarpur Corridor "are steps in a positive direction".
Tensions between India and Pakistan had escalated after Indian Air Force fighter jets bombed terror group JeM's training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan on February 26.
Pakistan had retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations the next day, and had captured IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman after aerial combat near the Line of Control.