Shahbaz Sharif briefs Army Chief on Nawaz`s India visit

Nawaz Sharif`s younger brother Shahbaz has taken Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif into confidence about the Premier`s decision to accept India`s invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi.

PTI| Last Updated: May 24, 2014, 15:54 PM IST

Lahore: Nawaz Sharif`s younger brother Shahbaz has taken Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif into confidence about the Premier`s decision to accept India`s invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi.

Shahbaz Sharif, who is the Punjab province Chief Minister, yesterday called on Raheel at the army guest house in Lahore and "informed" him about the Prime Minister`s decision to visit India, sources in the ruling party PML-N told PTI.

The meeting lasted for about half-an-hour in which Shahbaz told Raheel about the importance of the Prime Minister`s visit to India for maintaining good relations between the two countries and for peace in the region.

The sources said like in the past, Shahbaz was tasked by his party to take the military high command into confidence on sensitive issues.

Shahbaz used to have "secret" meetings with former Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani during the previous Pakistan People`s Party regime.

"Prime Minister Sharif`s decision shows that he is not under any influence from the establishment. He takes his decision independently," a PML-N leader said.

He said it was a difficult decision taken by Nawaz in the wake of the ongoing civil-military tension over leading media group Geo TV Network.

After the ISI chief`s criticism by the Geo group on the issue of attack on TV anchor Hamid Mir, the government is allegedly siding with the media group annoying security agencies, sources said.

"In such a situation Prime Minister Sharif has demonstrated that he does not take dictation," the PML-N leader said.

Modi has invited all the leaders of member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to the swearing-in ceremony on Monday.

Prime Minister Sharif had telephoned Modi to congratulate him on his party`s election victory and invited him to visit Pakistan after assuming office.