Imran Khan as new Pak PM brings new hope of cordial Indo-Pak relations


As former cricket star Imran Khan takes oath as the Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 11, it gives a fresh air of hope of cordial relationship between India and Pakistan. The hope is strengthened by the invitation sent by Imran Khan to his contemporary cricket stars in India_Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Deo and Navjot Singh Sidhu_and Bollywood star, Aamir Khan for his otherwise simple oath taking ceremony.
Not to mention that his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf  (PTI) has already said ‘no’ to any foreign delegates, except for the few lucky Indians, to attend the historic event. Accepting his invitation, Sidhu went to the extent of saying that Imran Khan is “a man of character”. “It is a great honour and I accept the invitation. Men of genius are admired, men of power are feared but men of character are trusted. Khan Saheb is a man of character. He can be trusted,” said Sidhu, who is also a cricketer-turned-politician like Imran Khan.
PTI emerged as the single largest party in Pakistan’s national assembly after the July 25 general election in the country. However, it is still short of numbers to form the government on its own and political bickering is on in Pakistan at the moment. Fawad Chaudhry, the PTI spokesperson had recently tweeted  that they would take the decision on whether foreign dignitaries will be invited after consulting with the Pakistan Foreign Office. “Media speculations about international dignitaries attending PM oath ceremony are not correct. We have sought the advice of Foreign Office on the matter and will decide accordingly #PTI,” he had tweeted. However, now it is clear that there will be not many of foreign guests at the forthcoming plain but gala event, which will be happening at Aiwan-e-Sadr (President House).
After the news came that PM Modi may be invited for the ceremony which was immediately followed by another news that Modi’s name is not there in the guest list, Modi had called Imran Khan to congratulate him on his party’s victory in the general elections in Pakistan and hoped that “Pakistan and India will work to open a new chapter in bilateral ties”. On his part, Imran Khan in his victory speech has already hinted that better relations between Pakistan and India would be “good for all of us”. It assumes significance in the wake of the fact that bilateral ties between India and Pakistan have remained tense since the Mumbai terror attack in 2008, and worsened after the Uri terror attack by Pak-based terrorists. It was further soured after the surgical strike by the Indian Army in the PoK which was followed by the terrorist strike on the Indian Army camps in Kashmir.
It is true that the former Pak premier Nawaz Sharif had travelled all the way to Delhi to attend PM Modi’s oath taking ceremony and PM Modi had made a stopover in Lahore in December 2015 to greet his counterpart on his birthday. However, these events didn’t help much in the establishment of cordial relationship between the two countries either. Ties between the two countries strained further after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016 and India’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control.
The death sentence given by a Pak military court to retired naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was kidnapped from Iran while on a business visit, only added fuel to the fire in ties between the two nations.


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