Omar said the people of Jammu and Kashmir would keep a close eye on the meeting between Sharif and Modi.

He added Sharif’s decision to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony suggests that he is strong enough to defy vicious forces in Pakistan that vociferously oppose good relations with India.

“Very glad to hear Pak PM has accepted invite, shows that he can prevail over forces inimical to good relations with India,” Omar tweeted on Saturday.

“I hope that this will mark a new beginning in ties between our two countries. The people of J&K will be watching closely,” he added.

Omar said that he feels sorry for other world leaders who would be attending Modi’s swearing-in ceremony because the picture that would matter the most at that time would be of Modi-Sharif handshake.

“Can't help feel sorry for others taking oath or attending because the only photo op that will matter now will be the Modi-Sharif handshake,” Omar said.

Meanwhile, officials in Islamabad confirmed on Saturday that Sharif will attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 26.

Sharif’s visit to India gives encouraging signals that Pakistan might be ready to begin a new chapter in improving bilateral ties between the two arch-rivals.

Other key SAARC leaders, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom have already confirmed that they will attend the ceremony in New Delhi.

Bangladesh will be represented by Speaker Shirin Chaudhury as Premier Sheikh Hasina is travelling to Japan.

Around 3000 dignitaries across the world have been invited to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, which would take place in the sprawling forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

(JPN)

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