Pak PM sends ‘felicitations’ to Prime Minister Modi; Nawaz Sharif says let’s replace hate with hope

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday sent “felicitations” to Narendra Modi on taking oath as the Prime Minister of India for the third consecutive time.

In a short message on X, Shehbaz wrote, “Felicitations to Narendra Modi on taking oath as Prime Minister of India.”

Prime Minister Modi and his Council of Ministers took oath in a historic ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi on Sunday.

While dozens of global leaders have sent congratulatory messages, Pakistan PM’s message to his Indian counterpart holds quite a significance considering the tense relationship between the neighbouring nations during the past two terms of the Modi government.

“PM Shehbaz’s felicitation message shows clearly the rift that persists between the two countries. The message didn’t show any sign of warmth or express hopes of working towards normalisation of relations between the two countries. Instead, it seemed more like a forced formality that the premier had to undertake,” said senior political analyst Javed Siddique.

It should also be noted that PM Modi did not extend an invitation to Pakistan to participate in the swearing-in ceremony like he did in 2014 when then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was invited.

Interestingly, a vast difference is also seen in the messages sent to PM Modi on Monday by PM Shehbaz Sharif and by his elder brother Nawaz Sharif, the President of the country’s ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

In his message to the Indian PM, Nawaz Sharif congratulated him on assuming office for the third consecutive time and expressed hope of “replacing hate with hope” for better future progress of the two nations.

“My warm felicitations to Modi Ji on assuming office for the third time. 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,” he posted on X.

While PM Shehbaz enjoys a close relationship with the country’s powerful establishment currently running a coalition government, his elder brother is seen as a leader who refuses to fall in line with the country’s military.

Having failed to secure a majority to form the government after the general polls held in February this year, Nawaz Sharif is managing party politics through his daughter and Chief Minister of Punjab province, Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

PM Modi’s close relations with Nawaz Sharif also became evident when he made a surprise visit to Lahore in 2015 on the latter’s invitation and even spent time at Sharif’s Jati Umra residence.

Analysts feel that considering the stance taken by the BJP-led NDA during campaigning over the past few weeks, it is unlikely that the relationship between the two countries will improve during the third term of the Modi government. –IANS

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