SHARIF FELT BELITTLED IN INDIA, CLAIMS PAKISTANI MEDIA

NEW DELHI (TIP): Even as Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif reached out to his counterpart Narendra Modi by dispatching gifts for the Indian PM’s mother, Pakistani media reported that he was “not too happy” with the outcome of his meeting with Modi last week. Despite reservations expressed by the Pakistan army, Sharif accepted Modi’s invite to attend his swearing-in on May 26. Dawn quoted an anonymous leader in Sharif’s party PML (N) saying that Sharif felt “belittled” in Delhi.

“Sharif is not too happy at his reception in India during his visit there to attend the oathtaking ceremony of Narendra Modi,” the report said, citing the leader. Pakistani government sources though reiterated the remark by Sharif’s foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz that the Modi-Sharif meeting was “better than expected”. They said Sharif’s gifts for Modi’s mother underlined his commitment to jointly work with the Indian PM for improving ties. Sharif, in fact, had seemed more optimistic after his meeting with Modi when he said in his statement that the two countries had agreed to a meeting between the two foreign secretaries.

India, however, continues to maintain that the foreign secretaries would “remain in touch” and that does not necessarily mean meeting in person. Sources said a segment within Sharif’s party is not comfortable with the adverse media coverage in Pakistan of the visit and that the report may be a fallout of that. Sharif received some flak for not focusing on the Kashmir issue even as he apparently allowed Modi to talk at length on the need for Pakistan to address the issue of terrorism. A senior PML(N) member told Dawn that Sharif felt belittled when there was no joint press conference after the one-onone meeting between the two PMs, the report said.

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