AAP questions and Left welcomes Modi’s sudden Pakistan visit

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

NEW DELHI– The AAP on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden visit to Lahore, asking what prompted the step when the BJP consistently opposed talks with Pakistan.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh said: “It’s BJP/Modi who ha(ve) been opposing talks with Pakistan during the time of (former prime minister) Manmohan Singh under the pretext of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. What has changed now?

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

“We have always been saying (that) engagement with Pakistan is needed but BJP was opposing. Now they should explain – why so much friendship?” he said in tweets.

He asked whether Pakistan-backed terrorism had stopped as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had now become a likeable figure to Modi.

Modi flew into Lahore on Friday and met Sharif while returning home from Kabul. He also wished Sharif on his birthday. Friday also marks the 139th birth anniversary of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Meanwhile, the CPI-M led Left Front on Friday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise move to stopover in Lahore to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

“It is not bad that Modi has decided to meet the Pakistani prime minister and have talks. It should be welcomed,” said Front chairman Biman Bose.

Communist Party of India-Marxist Lok Sabha member Mohammad Salim too welcomed the move but insisted having consistent and regular dialogues for a lasting peace.

“As a Leftist, I welcome any step towards peace and cooperation with Pakistan. We should move beyond photo-ops and personal bonhomie.

“Consistent, regular dialogues and more people to people contact essential for lasting peaceful legacy. Negate hate-mongers and terrorists,” he tweeted.

Talking to media persons later, Salim contended that the central government must come up with a concrete policy on the issue.

“The centre must have a come up with a concrete policy about the relationship with Pakistan. They must elaborate how far they want to go and must take the country’s population in confidence on the matter,” he said.

In his first visit to Pakistan and the first trip by an Indian prime minister to the country in 11 years, Modi made an unscheduled stopover in Lahore to meet Sharif on his birthday.

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