PM Modi just before his meeting with Pakistan President Nawaz Sharif. (Photo: PTI)
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PM Modi’s Impromptu Visit to Lahore, Big Surprise for Sharif

After landing in New Delhi, the prime minister went to Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s residence to wish him on his birthday.

After wishing him, Modi said,

Visited Atal ji at his residence and conveyed birthday wishes to him. Personally touched by Nawaz Sharif sahab’s gesture of welcoming me at Lahore airport and coming to the airport when I left.

He added,

December 25, 2015, 5:48 pm
December 25, 2015, 4:02 pm

Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves Lahore after his surprise visit. He was in Pakistan to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

Modi also attended Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding. The two heads of state had a meeting briefly.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhary said, “Both leaders expressed the desire to carry forward dialogue process in the interest of the people of both nations”.

It was agreed that bilateral contacts will be enhanced and both nations will work together for good relations. The prime minister of Pakistan welcomed Modi’s initiative to visit Lahore. 
Aizaz Chaudhary, Pakistan Foreign Secretary

Modi stopped over in Pakistan on his way back from Afghanistan. Reports say the decision to stop over in Lahore was taken this morning after Modi spoke with Sharif over the phone and wished him on his birthday.

December 25, 2015, 2:28 pm
December 25, 2015, 1:49 pm

Sharif-Modi Meeting in Raiwind

Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistani counterpart held a meeting at the latter’s residence, the details of which are still unknown.

Modi has now left Sharif’s Raiwind residence.

Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif (right) at the latter’s palatial residence in Raiwind. (Photo: PTI)
Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif (right) at the latter’s palatial residence in Raiwind. (Photo: PTI)
December 25, 2015, 2:39 pm
December 25, 2015, 1:26 pm

Caught Off Guard, Congress Slams Modi’s Lahore Surprise

As Modi arrives at the venue of Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding, back in New Delhi Congress leader Anand Sharma held a press conference.

Sharma slammed Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan saying, “I reject Sushma Swaraj’s statement that Modi’s behaviour was like that of a statesman. He also refused to believe that the visit was impromptu.

Referring to industrialist Sajjad Jindal’s presence in Lahore, Sharma said,

An industrialist who has private business dealings with the ruling establishment in Pakistan is already there, so how is the prime minister’s visit spontaneous?

Sharma also alleged that during the UPA rule, the BJP had a “hawkish approach preventing the then government from any meaningful dialogue”.

December 25, 2015, 2:39 pm
December 25, 2015, 1:24 pm

Prime Minister Modi arrives at the venue of Sharif’s grand daughter’s wedding. She is Maryam Nawaz’s daughter.

December 25, 2015, 1:24 pm
December 25, 2015, 1:17 pm

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Sharif’s palace in Lahore. The meeting is said to be informal in nature. Reports say India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is also present.

December 25, 2015, 12:32 pm
December 25, 2015, 12:17 pm

Modi-Sharif Off to Latter’s Palace

While the agenda of the meeting is not known as of now, a spokesman from the Pakistani PM’s office in Lahore said Modi would stay in Lahore for about two hours.

A PML-N source told PTI that Sharif had invited Modi to attend the marriage of his granddaughter Mehrun Nisa which is taking place today at the Sharif’s Raiwind palatial residence.

“I cannot confirm but there are chances that Modi goes to Raiwind and holds meeting with PM Sharif at his residence,” he said.

The two heads of state have taken a chopper and have reportedly gone to Sharif’s Raiwind residence. The place is about 45 minutes away from the airport.

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif meets Narendra Modi at the Lahore airport. (Photo: PTI)
Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif meets Narendra Modi at the Lahore airport. (Photo: PTI)

Meanwhile in New Delhi, Youth Congress leaders burn Modi’s effigies protesting the prime minister’s impromptu visit to Lahore.

December 25, 2015, 2:40 pm
December 25, 2015, 11:52 am

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plane lands in Lahore, Pakistan. He is expected to have a lunch meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

December 25, 2015, 11:54 am
December 25, 2015, 11:18 am

The Not-so-happy Opposition

While the ruling BJP has praised Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan, the opposition has slammed the move.

On Twitter, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said, “That’s like a statesman. Padosi se aise hi rishte hone chahiyen (This is how it should be with neighbours)”.

But Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “PM’s misadventure to Lahore is the worst manifestation of Spectacalisation of Diplomacy. Last time Vajpayee went to Lahore Kargil! This time what?”.

Shiv Sena, BJP’s ally in Maharashtra, had other questions. Party spokesperson Sanjay Raut said, “Will Dawood Ibrahim be handed over to India after today’s meeting between Modi and Sharif?”

Aam Aadmi Party’s Ashutosh said, “It’s BJP/Modi who have been opposing talks with Pakistan during the time of Manmohan Singh under the pretext of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. What has changed now? We have always been saying engagement with Pakistan is needed but BJP was opposing (it). Now they should explain - itna yaarana kyon lag raha hain Modi ji?

National Conference leader and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah took the opportunity to take a dig at J&K Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed. He tweeted, “Now waiting for the statement from J&K Govt claiming that Mufti Syed was the one who forced PM Modi to visit Lahore today”.

December 25, 2015, 2:40 pm
December 25, 2015, 10:47 am

Modi’s Birthday Surprise for Sharif

PM Modi has left Kabul for Lahore. He will be meeting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to wish him on his birthday.

Reports suggest the decision to stop over in Pakistan was taken by Modi this morning.

Coincidentally, Sajjan Jindal is also in Lahore at the moment. Senior journalist Barkha Dutt, in her recently published book The Unquiet Land: Stories From India’s Fault Lines, described Jindal as an informal messenger serving as a “covert bridge” between the two leaders.

Earlier today, Sajjan Jindal had tweeted a picture of himself and said he was in Lahore to wish Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.

December 25, 2015, 11:42 am
December 25, 2015, 10:21 am

Prime Minister Modi has left for the Kabul Airport.

December 25, 2015, 11:54 am
December 25, 2015, 9:54 am

Lahore on High Alert Ahead of Modi’s Visit

Pakistani authorities on Friday put security on high alert in Lahore especially around the airport area following the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s day-long visit to the city.

A PM House spokesman confirmed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will receive his Indian counterpart at the Lahore airport who is expected to reach here around 2.45 pm (local time) from Afghanistan.

Modi would stay in Lahore for about two hours, said the spokesman.

Meanwhile, heavy contingent of police and Pakistan Rangers have reached the Allama Iqbal International Airport and taken charge of the security.

“Security in Lahore has been put on high alert,” a senior police official told PTI. He said police have also been deployed on the adjoining areas of the airport.

A PML-N source told PTI that Sharif had invited Modi to attend the marriage of his granddaughter Mehrun Nisa which is taking place today at the Sharif’s Raiwind palatial residence of Raiwind.

“I cannot confirm but there are chances that Modi goes to Raiwind and holds meeting with PM Sharif at his residence,” he said. PTI MZ

Earlier, Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said, “Yes, we have been informed by the Indian High Commission that PM Narendra Modi would stop over in Lahore to meet our PM today. Details are being worked out.”

December 25, 2015, 11:54 am
December 25, 2015, 9:40 am

‘Not The Way International Diplomacy Conducted’

Pakistan media said that Sharif is likely to meet Modi at the Lahore airport, as flashed by CNN IBN. Modi’s sudden plan to ‘drop by’ Lahore has surprised the Congress which was prompt enough to say, “Para dropping won’t help. Embarrassing for India. This is not the way international diplomacy is conducted.”

The Congress on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Pakistan, saying serious information like this should not have been revealed through Twitter.

It is unfortunate that we get to know about prime minister’s visit through a tweet... India and Pakistan relations are not so good as yet that he stops over there on his way back from another country. The parliament session got over just a few days back, why was the parliament and the country left in dark. Why didn’t the prime minister take the country and parliament in confidence?
Ajoy Kumar, Congress spokesperson

Congress leader Manish Tewari called it an “adventure” by the Indian Prime Minister.

December 25, 2015, 11:43 am
December 25, 2015, 9:40 am

Unscheduled Pit-stop

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make an unscheduled pit-stop in Pakistan on Friday afternoon on his way back to India from Afghanistan.

Modi, who inaugurated the new building of Afghanistan’s parliament in Kabul this morning, said in a Twitter post that he will briefly halt in Pakistan on his way back to New Delhi.

The meeting will take place a fortnight after the two South Asian neighbours agreed to restart peace talks that have stalled since Modi took office.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj lauded Modi’s gesture.

25 December also marks the birthday of Modi’s Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Modi said that he looks “forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi.”

Modi will be the first Indian prime minister to visit Pakistan after Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2004.

In his speech at the Parliament building in Afghanistan Modi said, “I hope that Pakistan will become a bridge between South Asia & Afghanistan & beyond.”

(With agency inputs)

December 25, 2015, 11:42 am
December 25, 2015, 9:40 am