Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and parliamentary leader of the opposition Shahbaz Sharif has called a meeting with leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to discuss what-they-call, prime minister Imran Khan’s “aggressive” tweet to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in response to New Delhi’s refusal to hold a meeting between their foreign ministers in New York.
Present are former foreign minister and PML-N MNA Khawaja Mohammad Asif, former defense minister Khurram Dastgir Khan and PPP vice-president and the country’s former ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman, and former defense minister and PPP MNA Aftab Shaban Mirani.
The two parties are considering forming an alliance during the upcoming by-elections scheduled for October 14.
Shahbaz, stressing that the government was not prepared from day one, declares, “Imran just showed too much keenness. It simply reflected weakness on our part. Giving India too much only reflects haste on his part to mend fences with them. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not against normalization of relations with India, but dignity must be maintained.
“Don’t you remember how my brother, Nawaz Sharif invited prime minister Modi to the wedding of Maryam’s daughter. What more dignified way it would be to reach out to India?
“Sherry, you recall that then your party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had tweeted that constant engagement is the only way to resolve all outstanding issues.”
Khawaja Asif, never lacking in vitriol added, “The tone of Imran letter was certainly a sign of weakness. It is beyond comprehension why Imran offered the olive branch to India at a time, when it is committing serious human rights violations in India-held Kashmir.
“Imran cannot match our prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s skills. Our prime minister did not raise even an eyebrow that Modi’s day began in Afghanistan, where he delivered three Mi-25 attack helicopters for the Afghan security forces.
“Our Nawaz Sharif never expressed his concern about the Indian presence in Afghanistan.
“In fact to add to this visit’s pleasantness, Nawaz Sharif invited Modi’s favorite steel magnate Sajjan Jindal to be in in Lahore on the exact same day. He had served as conduit between them over that past year. You can weigh the diplomatic depth that Nawaz Sharif has. He is the first Pakistani leader to visit India and not meet with the Hurriyat Conference or mention Kashmir in his public statements.
“Once again, Sherry, you remember that your Aitzaz Ahsan, who was then leader of the opposition in the Senate, labeled it as a good day for Pakistan and India.”
Sherry Rehman expressed, “You are right Khawaja Asif. Imran did not do his homework. Nor did he assess the situation before approaching India for a meeting. Instead Imran is adding fuel to the fire by inciting the religious Sikhs and keeps saying that he is willing to open the Kartarpur border crossing so that Sikh pilgrims can visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib without a visa. Will Modi appreciate such acts?
“The entire nation cannot forget how our co-chairman Asif Zardari placed the portrait of our great martyr Benazir on the podium when he addressed the UN General Assembly and here Imran has sent his foreign minister and that too asked him to go around by train instead of eight-door limousines. No sense of dignity!”
Khurram Dastgir Khan joins the conversation with a fist thump on the table, “Sherry this is so obvious. We have left nothing for Imran except, regrettably though, Mian Nawaz Sharif’s eight prized buffaloes and he is even auctioning them off.
“I know why he did not go to the UN… his first lady does not even show her face. No grace like our beloved mother of democracy, our great Kulsoom Nawaz. The sublime lady who never questioned our leader for life and simply kept checking the ever-growing bank accounts online. May she be blessed always.”
Sherry, raising her finger, with a sarcastic smile, declares, “Imran Khan finished as cricket hero in 1992. Pakistan needs leaders with inherited ruling genes… our most respected Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa… I am not even the dust of the soles off their shoes. Only they have the genes of diplomacy passed on to them from our ever-living leader, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, their sainted mother, Benazir, and their unmatchable father, Asif Zardari. It is time that we to tell Imran that diplomacy is not like bowling bouncers!”