Monday, May 13, 2013

Will be happy if Manmohan attends swearing-in: Sharif

(LAHORE),May 14 2013:-

Set to become Pakistan\'s prime minister again after his party\'s decisive victory in the just-concluded elections, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Monday reached out to both the Pakistani Army as well as the Indian government.

Asked whether he would invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his oath-taking ceremony, Sharif replied, \"I will be happy if he comes. It will be a great pleasure. I got a call from him (Singh) yesterday, and we had a long chat. He extended an invitation to me to visit India, and I also invited him to visit Pakistan. He (Singh) belongs to a district in Pakistan. He will come, inshallah.\"

One of his aides, however, told The Indian Express that the question had caught him off-guard, and an invitation to Singh for the swearing-in would not be a wise political move at this juncture.

Sharif was speaking to a group of foreign journalists at his farm house at Raiwind, on the outskirts of Lahore city. Recalling the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee\'s bus ride to Lahore in 1999, Sharif said: \"I vividly remember his visit... I think that was a defining moment in Indo-Pak relationship... We have to start from where we left off in 1999.\"

Asked if he would take a bus to India, he replied, \"I will certainly go to India — I don\'t know whether I will go on a bus though. Can I take any other ride as well?\'\'

He also expressed his wish to meet Vajpayee again. \"I am a great supporter of a free visa regime between India and Pakistan. We will pick up things from where we left them in 1999,\" he added.

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