Pakistan Senate chairman gets surprising invitation from Indian parliament speaker

Om Birla, the speaker of the lower house of the Indian parliament, has invited the Chairman of Pakistan's Senate to attend the centennial celebration of the creation of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, according to Indian media reports

Oct 12, 2021
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Chairman of Pakistan's Senate and Om Birla, the speaker of the lower house of the Indian parliament

Om Birla, the speaker of the lower house of the Indian parliament, has invited the Chairman of Pakistan's Senate to attend the centennial celebration of the creation of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, according to Indian media reports. The invitation, which was sent through a letter dated 24 August, came to at a time when diplomatic relations between the two countries are virtually frozen.  

Similar invitations have been extended to other members of the Commonwealth and other countries. “As the Public Accounts Committee celebrates the 100th year of its journey, it would be an honor for us, if you could kindly be the guest of Parliament of India and grace this historic event with your esteemed presence,” reads the letter, first reported by Pakistani social media handles working with BOL TV.

Sadiq Sanjrini, who is currently the chairman of the Pakistan Senate, is considered close to Pakistan’s powerful military establishment.  

The PAC, which exercises oversight of public expenditure, is a key function of the democratic system. It is the oldest parliament committee in India. There has been however no official statement on it from the Ministry of External Affairs.

Recently, incidents of violence-- including targeted attacks against Hindus and Sikhs, religious minorities in the Kashmir Valley--has increased dramatically. Senior officials in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have blamed "terrorist handlers" sitting across the border in Pakistan for the rise in violence. 

Indian security forces and intelligence agencies have also intensified operations and raids against terror cells and overground workers supporting militant organizations. At least five terrorists have been neutralized in the last 24 hours in operations and many more were arrested. 

New Delhi and Islamabad had recently engaged in back-channel talks through their respective intelligence officials. Officials of both sides met between April 2020 to January 2021 at least five times in a Gulf country to discuss issues, especially Kashmir, according to a report in Dawn newspaper. 

(SAM)