ISLAMABAD - In a complete change of heart, prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan has decided not to invite foreign dignitaries and celebrities to his oath-taking ceremony, announcing to observe complete simplicity for the event.

Imran Khan whose party is set to form the next government at the Centre as the single largest party in the National Assembly was earlier planning to invite foreign dignitaries as well as Indian film and cricket celebrities. Those included in the proposed list were Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bollywood superstar Amir Khan and cricket legends, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavasker and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

“The party chairman has desired to arrange the oath-taking event with austerity. He will take his oath at a simple ceremony at Aiwan-e-Sadr,” PTI Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said. He added no foreign dignitaries were being invited to the ceremony which would be completely national in its facade and essence. “Only a few close friends of Imran Khan will be invited,” he said. “The PTI chairman has desired to arrange the oath-taking event at a simple ceremony at the Presidency without any show of extravagance,” he went on saying.

Later, PTI Additional Information Secretary Senator Faisal Javed Khan issued a separate statement to further clarify that no Indian film or cricket stars were being invited to the event.

There is no truth in the reports circulating in the media regarding the invitations being sent to foreign players or actors, Senator Javed added.

“Being the custodians of taxpayers’ money, we are looking forward to holding a simple oath-taking ceremony, completely national in its façade and essence,” he maintained. He stated players from across the world, including India, have sent warm wishes to the prime minister-in-waiting. The PTI chairman, he added, heartily thanked everyone for wishing him on his party’s historic win in the elections.

Earlier on Wednesday, Fawad Chaudhry had told reporters outside the Supreme Court that the PTI had asked the Foreign Office regarding extending invitations to the heads of states and foreign leaders of different countries to the oath-taking ceremony. “We are awaiting response of the Foreign Office,” he had said. He had also revealed PTI had invited Indian film and cricket celebrities like Amir Khan, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavasker.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan, in his July 26 victory speech, had said his party’s government wanted good relations with India. Earlier on Monday, Indian PM Narendra Modi had called Khan to congratulate him on his party’s victory in the general elections.

Meanwhile, a PTI delegation, comprising Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind and Naeemul Haq, Thursday met with Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal at Balochistan House to hold talks with him on the formation of next coalition governments at the Centre and Balochistan. BNP-M has three seats of the National Assembly and six seats in the Balochistan Assembly.

While talking to the media after the meeting, Akhtar Mengal said he was thankful to the delegation for offering BNP-M to become a coalition partner in the government. “We have placed longstanding issues of Balochistan before PTI as the province could not progress unless its core issues are resolved,” he asserted. He said if the next government failed to resolve the basic issues of Balochistan, claims to lessen its deprivations would always remain false.

“BNP-M has two demands – the recovery of missing persons of Balochistan and the implementation of recommendations of an All Parties Conference on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) regarding the province. “If we receive a positive response, we are ready to sit together at the Centre,” he said, adding his party would remain careful as it had been getting a cold response from the rulers of the country in the past. He affirmed BNP-M had got no invitation to the multi-party conference held in Islamabad today (Thursday). About the nomination of Balochistan Awami Party Chief Jam Kamal as the next chief minister Balochistan, he said they could not support any candidate by closing their eyes to his mere nomination.

To a question about Balochistan government, he said: “BNP’s ally in the province is MMA and we will take the decision of government formation after developing consensus with our allies in the province.” The PTI leader and Balochistan chapter president Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind said they would place the demands of Mengal before Imran Khan. He hoped PTI and BNP-M would sit together after Mengal’s meeting with Khan. Naeemul Haq said the meeting was positive and they were trying to arrange a meeting of Mengal with the party chairman soon.

In another development, a delegation of Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen, led by Allama Raja Nasir Abbas, called on the PTI chairman.

A statement issued by PTI said a delegation of MWM led by Allama Raja Nasir Abbas called on the chairman at Bani Gala to congratulate him on his victory in the general elections. Speaking on the occasion, the MWM leadership lauded the chairman’s resolve to make the country a welfare state on the principles of the State of Madina. “Preserving the national integrity and honour will be the most pressing consideration of the foreign policy of the PTI government,” the MWM leaders hoped.

Imran Khan thanked the MWM delegation for paying visit to felicitate him.



Imran decides not to invite foreign dignitaries