NEW DELHI: Member of Pakistan’s parliament and former cricketer Imran Khan called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi today.
“At his request, Pakistan MP & Chairman of Tehreek-e-Insaf Party Imran Khan called on PM @narendramodi today,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted along with a picture of the two.
According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup both the leaders welcomed recent developments in bilateral relations, and expressed hope that these would lead to closer cooperative ties between the two countries.
Mr Swarup said Mr Modi and Mr Khan welcomed the recent thawing in relations between India and Pakistan and expressed the hope that these would lead to cooperative ties between the two countries.
During External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Pakistan earlier this week for the Heart of Asia Conference on peace and stability in Afghanistan, the New Delhi and Islamabad decided to start a comprehensive bilateral dialogue covering the entire gamut of issues.
“Mr Imran Khan invited PM @narendramodi to visit Pakistan,” Mr Swarup said in another tweet.
Mr Modi is scheduled to visit Pakistan next year to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit meeting.
Earlier, PTI’s central information secretary Shireen Mazari had confirmed a meeting between Modi and PTI chairman may take place.
“Chairman Imran Khan will be meeting Indian PM before he speaks at the India Today conference,” Mazari added.
According to India Today, former Pakistan captain also requested Modi to resume bilateral cricket ties.
“I told Prime Minister Modi that India and Pakistan should play each other. I had supported the boycott of South Africa by the cricket world during the apartheid era,” Imran told Rajdeep Sardesai, who was moderating the session, which also included former India captain Kapil Dev. “That was about human rights violation and that was unacceptable.
Imran added, “We don’t want to be enemies forever. You have to think about the future. There are mutual cricketing heroes in both our countries. Like Wasim Akram is adored and loved in India, Sachin Tendulkar is a hero in Pakistan.”
Kapil was more guarded in his response when asked if India should play Pakistan in a bilateral series.
“The decision rests with the government. Both boards are ready to play but you cannot go against your government.”
Imran aghast at Nawaz-Modi ‘Kathmandu meeting’
Last week, the PTI chairman expressed shock at the revelation that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had held a secret “deniable” meeting with his Indian counterpart in 2014 on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit in Kathmandu.
Criticising the present leadership of both nations, he attributed the lack of courage and conviction as the reason why the secret meetings were held.
Nawaz, Modi had hour-long ‘secret’ meeting in Kathmandu: book
This inability to move forward confidently by premier Nawaz is also undermining the credibility of Pakistan Army at a critical juncture in our history when the military is combating terrorism across the country, the PTI chief had said in a statement.
Imran said he believed peace between Pakistan and India was inevitable for the prosperity of people of the subcontinent as peace will ensure economic vibrancy through trade and investment opportunities.