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Sunday June 23, 2024

Nawaz, Modi stress peace in rare social media diplomacy

PML-N president also calls for replacing hate with hope, seizing opportunity to shape destiny of 2 billion people

By Ag Afp
June 11, 2024
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif (left) and Indian Premier Narendra Modi. — Nawaz Sharif/Facebook/Reuters/File
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif (left) and Indian Premier Narendra Modi. — Nawaz Sharif/Facebook/Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India’s leaders resorted to diplomacy via X on Monday, a day after Narendra Modi was sworn in as prime minister for the third time.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his elder brother and former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Modi in posts on the social media platform within hours of each other, in what was Pakistan’s first response to the election results from across the border.

“Your party’s success in recent elections reflects the confidence of the people in your leadership. Let us replace hate with hope and seize the opportunity to shape the destiny of the two billion people of South Asia,” Nawaz said in one post.

Modi responded, saying “The people of India have always stood for peace, security and progressive ideas. Advancing the well-being and security of our people shall always remain our priority.”

Modi secured a record-equalling third term but lost his outright majority and is dependent on regional parties for support in his first coalition government.

Ties between the two countries have been frozen since India ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir state in 2019 and split it into two federally administered territories.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday offered brief congratulations to his counterpart Narendra Modi on his re-election, almost a week after the results came in. “Felicitations to @narendramodi (Modi) on taking oath as the Prime Minister of India,” he posted on social media platform X, in the first official comment on the matter from Pakistan.

A few hours after Shehbaz Sharif had wished him well, Modi responded on X: “Thank you @cmshehbaz for your good wishes”.

However, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said sending felicitation messages to Narendra Modi was only a diplomatic necessity and the gesture was nothing more than that. He said Modi failed to get a majority in the recent elections in India, which brought down his arrogance.

The defence minister said PM Shehbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif sent messages to Narendra Modi, as sending felicitation messages on such an occasion was a diplomatic requirement. He said, “We haven’t sent him any ‘love letter’.” He said Modi was killer of Muslims. But on election of any head of the government, felicitation messages are sent as a tradition. When Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the premier, Modi had also sent him felicitations, and now his message was reciprocated.

The defence minister said Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIJ&K) was the biggest bone of contention and reason for conflict between India and Pakistan. And Modi was the prime minister of India who had revoked special status of the Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir. He said he was behind all atrocities being committed against Kashmiris in held Kashmir and Muslims in India.