India boycotts Pak National Day event, PM Modi sends customary greetings to Imran

New Delhi [India], Mar 23 (ANI): India on Friday decided to boycott the Pakistan National Day reception organised by the Pakistan High Commission here, citing invitation to separatists from Jammu and Kashmir as the reason behind the boycott.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a message to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the occasion. “Received message from PM Modi: I extend my greetings & best wishes to the people of Pakistan on the National Day of Pakistan. It is time that people of sub-continent work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive & prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence,” the Pakistani Prime Minister tweeted.
Speaking on Prime Minister Modi’s greetings, government sources told ANI that this is a customary unsigned letter which is sent to other heads of states on their National days as well. The sources further emphasised that the letter to Khan highlighted terrorism in South Asia.
India has been asking Pakistan to act against terrorists operating from its soil, reiterating that talks and terror cannot go hand in hand.
Tensions are high between the nations following the Pulwama terror attack last month which was followed by air strikes by India on Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
Meanwhile, in another tweet, the Pakistan Prime Minister welcomed Prime Minister Modi’s wishes and called for dialogue on all issues, including Kashmir.
“I welcome PM Modi’s message to our people. As we celebrate Pakistan Day I believe it is time to begin a comprehensive dialogue with India to address & resolve all issues, esp the central issue of Kashmir, & forge a new relationship based on peace & prosperity for all our people,” Khan tweeted.
Pakistani diplomatic sources say that the invitation to Hurriyat leaders is a regular feature of Pakistan National Day.
There are reports that individuals outside the Pakistan High Commission here, reportedly belonging to the government, were seen discouraging invitees from attending the event. Some guests even went back without attending.
Speaking to ANI here, an invitee, Jaan-e-Aalam, said he would not attend the event if the government directs invitees to do so.
“We are with our country’s decision to boycott it (National Pakistan Day). We will not go to Pakistan Embassy if our government says that we don’t have to go,” he said.
Meanwhile, National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah criticised Prime Minister Modi’s decision to extend greetings to his Pakistani counterpart.
“If only the spooks & other interested players stopping people from attending the Pak National Day event had also stopped PM Modi from sending his greeting to PM Khan we wouldn’t look so damn confused about our relations with Pakistan” he tweeted. (ANI)

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