PM Modi's surprise Pakistan visit takes Twitter by surprise

PM visits PM Sharif's home (Image source: Twitter)
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi set off a minor political tremor Friday afternoon when he tweeted that he would meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on his way back from Kabul. 

The hastily announced stopover also meant that Modi is now the first Indian prime minister to visit Pakistan since Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 2004 visit. Incidentally, December 25 is also Vajpayee’s birthday, now celebrated in India as Good Governance Day. 

The visit, which comes days after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Pakistan for the 'Heart of Asia' conference, evinced differing reactions across the political spectrum.  

On Twitter, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah described the re-engagement between Pakistan and India as a welcome development. However, he cautioned that “consistency” was more important than “grand gestures". 

Indo-Pak relations have been plagued by knee-jerk reactions & a lack of consistency. Looking towards two PMs to correct this this time.

— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) December 25, 2015

Abdullah also hit out at the Jammu and Kashmir government and tweeted that he was waiting for the government to claim that Mufti Syed had forced Modi to visit Lahore. 

Now waiting for the statement from J&K Govt claiming that Mufti Syed was the one who forced PM Modi to visit Lahore today.

— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) December 25, 2015

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj praised the move on Twitter and described Modi’s decision as being statesman-like. She added that this was exactly the sort of relations two neighboring countries should have. 

That's like a statesman. Padosi se aise hi rishte hone chahiyen. https://t.co/dM26am9tWf

— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) December 25, 2015

Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said that he was waiting for BJP-ally Shiv Sena’s reaction on Modi’s visit. Jha, alleging that Modi had gone to Pakistan to celebrate Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s birthday, also asked where the RSS was in all of this. Jha ended his series of tweets by saying that Modi had taken his “chai pe charcha farce too far”.

I am waiting with baited breath for the opinion of BJP ally Shiv Sena on Modi Ji's Lahore stopover. #JumlaInPakistan #ModiToadies

— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) December 25, 2015

So Modi Ji is landing in Pakistan to celebrate birth anniversary of Muhammad Ali Jinnah??? RSS, where are you??? #JumlaInPakistan

— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) December 25, 2015

Modi Ji has conned all his #Bhakts by taking the chai pe charcha farce too far, I guess. #JumlaInPakistan

— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) December 25, 2015

Congress leader Manish Tewari criticised the surprise visit in a series of tweets. Calling the visit a “misadventure”, Tewari referred to the Kargil war which followed then Prime Minister Vajpayee’s visit to Lahore. 

PM's misadventure to Lahore is worst manifestation of Spectecalisation of Diplomacy Last time Vajpayee went to Lahore Kargil!this time what?

— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) December 25, 2015
  
He also alleged that a “steel oligarch”, who allegedly brokered a meeting between Modi and Sharif in Thimpu, was also in Lahore today. 

Whispers are floating that a steel oligarich who ostensibly brokered a meeting between Modi & Nawaz in Thimpu is in Lahore now Any guesses ?

— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) December 25, 2015

NDTV’s Barkha Dutt, who called the move a “master stroke”, also claimed that Sajjan Jindal, chairman and managing director of steelmaker JSW Group, was also in Lahore.

He confounds both his critics& supporters ( and certainly the media) Masterstroke move by @narendramodi to drop in to meet Sharif in Lahore

— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) December 25, 2015

Big takeaway in @narendramodi Pakistan policy: write your own rules, don't get weighed down by formal protocol & keep the media away. Wise.

— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) December 25, 2015

Guess who's in Lahore apart from @narendramodi -@sajjanjindal59! My turn to say I TOLD YOU SO about secret PM meet he set up in SAARC Nepal

— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) December 25, 2015


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