Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan today defended a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian tycoon Sajjan Jindal, saying it was not an “unpatriotic” gesture on the part of the Pakistani leader. “Everybody know my views about India but I would say that the Prime Minister was not unpatriotic when he met the Indian (businessman). He is very much patriotic,” Khan said while responding to questions during a press conference in Karachi.
Elaborating his anti-India sentiments, Khan said he was the only cabinet minister who refused to go to Lahore in 1999 to receive then visiting Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The meeting of Jindal earlier this week with Sharif has created storm as opposition and a slew of “experts” have been criticizing Sharif for hosting the Indian steel tycoon.
Jindal, who is said to be Sharif’s and Narendra Modi’s mutual friend and considered a sort of back-channel contact, briefly visited Pakistan on Wednesday.
He was taken by helicopter to Murree, where he met Prime Minister Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz. His trip led to speculation that a move for revival of bilateral dialogue could be afoot.