Islamabad - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is still consulting his close aides on the Indian invitation to attend the oath-taking ceremony of premier-elect Narendra Modi slated for May 26.
"Consultations are still underway", a senior government functionary told TheNation on Friday saying the prime minister also has some other pressing domestic engagements on that very day. Requesting not to be named, the official said that a final decision on this count is expected soon.
Mr Modi has invited to the ceremony the leaders of member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), including PM Nawaz Sharif, who had phoned Modi to congratulate him and invited him to visit Pakistan after assuming office.
But, former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh last year had declined invitation by Nawaz Sharif to attend his swearing in ceremony, and now the Indian invitation has compelled the government to think if it should accept or not New Delhi’s invitation.
Though the BJP's victory in elections was cautiously received in Pakistan because of the party's extremist views and hardline position on issues concerning Pakistan, the doves in Islamabad still want PM Nawaz him to engage new Indian government "comprehensively and meaningfully". They are trying to persuade the prime minister to avail the opportunity to meet Mr Modi because of Nawaz’ good relations with late Indian PM Atal Behari Vajpai, the then top BJP leader.
The Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told reporters at the weekly briefing on Thursday that "whether the prime minister would attend or not will be decided some time today". She said Pakistan's expectation from the meeting, if it takes place, would be that it leads to resumption of the dialogue process that would be "meaningful and constructive; a dialogue with a view to resolving the outstanding disputes between our two countries so that this region can have durable peace.
"We expect this dialogue to be uninterrupted and uninterruptible," the spokesperson said. She expressed the hope that when the new government takes over, the kind of atmosphere that prevailed during the election rallies will be left behind and the new Indian government would get down to the business of states craft.