Press Trust of india

Imran Khan may invite Modi for his oath ceremony

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PTI terms Modi's telephone call to Khan a welcoming sign

Lahore, Jul 31:  Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is considering inviting the leaders of the SAARC countries including Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his oath taking ceremony as the premier next month, a party official said today.

The PTI, led by 65-year-old Khan, has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly after the July 25 elections, but it is still short of numbers to form the government on its own. Khan yesterday said that he would take oath as prime minister on August 11.

"The core committee of Tehreek-i-Insaf is considering inviting the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) heads including Mr Modi and a decision on this is expected shortly," a leader of Khan's party told PTI.

He also termed Modi's telephone call to Khan on his victory in the 2018 polls a welcoming sign to begin a new chapter in relations between the two countries.

Spokesperson for Khan's party Fawad Chaudhry also did not rule out inviting Modi to the swearing in ceremony.

"A decision about it will be taken by the party in consultation with the foreign ministry in coming days," he said.

Modi yesterday telephoned Khan to congratulate him on his party's victory in the general elections and hoped that "Pakistan and India will work to open a new chapter in bilateral ties".

Khan thanked Modi for his wishes and emphasised that disputes should be resolved through dialogue.

"Wars and bloodshed instead of resolving disputes lead to tragedies," Khan had said.

Khan in his victory speech had also said that better relations between Pakistan and India would be "good for all of us".

"If India's leadership is ready, we are ready to improve ties with India. If you take on step forward we will take two steps forward," he had said.

The relations between India and Pakistan remained tense since 2014. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had travelled to Delhi to attend Modi's oath taking ceremony and the Indian premier had in December 2015 made a stopover in Lahore to greet his counterpart on his birthday.

The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place.

The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016 and India's surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The sentencing of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to death by a military court in April last year further deteriorated bilateral ties

The two sides often accuse each other of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, resulting in civilian casualties.

Muslim-majority areas elect 3 Hindu candidates in Pakistan's Sindh

Karachi, Jul 31 (PTI) Three Hindu candidates of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) were elected from the Muslim-majority areas in Pakistan's Sindh province in the July 25 general elections, a media report said today.

Mahesh Malani won a National Assembly seat from Tharparkar (NA-222) , while Hari Ram Kishwari Lal and Jamshoro's Giyanoo Mal alias Giyan Chand Essrani were elected from the provincial assembly seats PS-147 and PS-81, respectively, the Daily Times reported today.

All the three candidates won from the general seats for the first time ever in the history of the country.

Malani won his seat from Tharparkar district by bagging 106,630 votes against his opponent, Arbab Zakaullah who secured only 87,261 votes. The Hindu population makes up 49 per cent of the total population of Thar desert.

Kirshwari Lal, who is considered a close friend of former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, won his seat from Mirpurkhas district, which has total population of around 15 lakh out of which 23 per cent are Hindus, the paper said.

He secured 33,201 votes against his competitor from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement's Mujeeb-ul-Haque who got 23,506 votes.

Essrani belongs to Thano Bola Khan of Sindh's Kohistan region in Jamshoro district, which has a substantial Hindu population. He secured 34,927 votes against Malik Changez Khan who got 26,975 votes.

Hindu organisations in Pakistan welcomed the election results of the Hindu candidates on general seats.

Pakistan Hindu Sabha Chairman Dr Govind Ram said that nomination of Hindu candidates on general seats was a wonderful idea.

Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.

According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country. Majority of Pakistan's Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions and language with their Muslim fellows.

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