ISLAMABAD: After Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif congratulated Narendra Modi on his reelection as India’s prime minister, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif sought to dispel the impression of sending any “message of love” to the neighbouring country, which has a long history of strained ties with Pakistan. “It is just a diplomatic compulsion to congratulate Modi on becoming the Indian PM He added that Pakistan has not sent any “message of love” to Modi — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader who was sworn in as India’s prime minister yesterday for a record-equalling third term. Asif said that Pakistan would never forget that Modi is a “murderer of Muslims” in India. He recalled the felicitations sent by Modi to Shehbaz who took oath as the prime minister earlier this year. Earlier in the day, Premier Shehbaz Sharif congratulated his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on taking oath. Taking to his personal account on X, formerly Twitter, PM Shehbaz wrote: “Felicitations to @narendramodi on taking oath as the Prime Minister of India.” The Pakistani premier’s felicitation to his Indian counterpart came a day after Modi took oath of the office of the PM for the third consecutive time. In response to PM Shehbaz’s post, Modi thanked the 72-year-old saying: “Thankyou [Shehbaz Sharif] for your good wishes.” Additionally, former premier and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif also congratulated PM Modi on X, saying: “My warm felicitations to Modi Ji on assuming office for the third time. Your party’s success in recent elections reflects the confidence of the people in your leadership. Let us replace hate with hope and seize the opportunity to shape the destiny of the two billion people of South Asia.” The 73-year-old also responded to the felicitation by Nawaz. Modi stated on his post on X: “Appreciate your message [Nawaz Sharif]. The people of India have always stood for peace, security and progressive ideas. Advancing the well-being and security of our people shall always remain our priority.” Modi, who started as a publicist of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of his BJP, is only the second person after independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru to serve a third straight term as prime minister. Modi, 73, secured the third term in elections that concluded on June 1 with the support of 14 regional parties in his BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), unlike in the previous two terms when his party won an outright majority. The outcome is seen as a big setback to the popular leader as surveys and exit polls had predicted BJP would secure even more seats than in 2019. ‘No chances of talks with PTI’In the same programme, Asif threw shade at the incarcerated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan by saying that the former premier did deliver statements in the favour of outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He added that soldiers of Pakistani armed forces were rendering sacrifices with their lives, on the other hand, martyrs were being maligned on social media. He said that the former ruling party was continuously trying to destabilise the country and the defence institutions were continuously being targeted on social media. To a question regarding political dialogues between the PML-N government and the embattled PTI, Asif said that such narratives were only being emerged on social media platforms like X, Facebook and Instagram. He criticised that there was no chance of political talks in the current circumstances as on one side, the PTI founder was hinting at holding dialogues with the army chief and the spy agency’s chief and on the other hand, abusive remarks were being used against the state institutions.



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