Indian journalist and author Prem Shankar Jha claimed on Monday that steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal visited Pakistan on the invitation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and was not sent by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He revealed this while speaking on a Geo News show.
Tweets by the family members of Sajjan Jindal characterizing the Pakistan Army as a rogue institution have also surfaced which are fueling the suspicion and incredulity of the media and political opposition.
There has been no disclosed contact between the Indian and Pakistani government after Mr. Jindal’s visit. The nature of the meeting, talking points, and the reason behind the visit are still distorted. It was previously assumed that Mr. Jindal had been sent by Prime Minister Modi with a message but Mr. Jha’s statements have added a new twist to this already warped story.
Read More: Nawaz-Jindal meeting: Friendship, diplomacy, or something else?
Before this clarification, BBC Urdu reported that the civilian leadership took the military high command in confidence regarding the recent visit of Indian Steel magnate, Sajjan Jindal. They claimed that the military leadership was told that his meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Murree last month was part of back-channel diplomacy aimed at diffusing tensions between the two countries.Previously, Marriyum Aurangzeb, State Minister for Information clarified newspaper reports that said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa discussed Sajjan Jindal in a meeting. She denied that this was discussed and said that Jindal is a personal friend of PM Sharif and it was a personal meeting between the two.
However, speculation is rife regarding the curious timing and confidentiality of this visit. Many in the media have pointed out the correlation between the visit and the ensuing hostilities on both Indian and Afghani borders. Tweets by the family members of Sajjan Jindal characterizing the Pakistan Army as a rogue institution have also surfaced which are fueling the suspicion and incredulity of the media and political opposition.
The Jindal visit is slowly dissolving in the quagmire that is our national news. It remains to be seen if any tangible answers would be presented to the question of what actually transpired.
The query that is haunting the government right now is: Why did the Prime Minister meet with Sajjan Jindal and what transpired between them? So far, the justification given by the government is that this was a personal call by Mr. Jindal as he is a close friend of the PM and it was an effort at back-channel diplomacy. This explanation has come under fire for being too vague, pundits have asked if this was really an effort at back-channel diplomacy why was the visit so clandestine? The political opposition is pressing this issue because, they claim, a leader of a nation cannot meet privately with a representative of hostile interests.
Read More: Jindal’s visit: Modi’s support package to Nawaz?
With the ICJ case between Pakistan and India over Kulbhushan Jadhav, Panamagate JIT investigations, and unrest at the borders the Jindal visit is slowly dissolving in the quagmire that is our national news. It remains to be seen if any tangible answers would be presented to the question of what actually transpired.
Question for Discussion: Why did Jindal actually come to meet the PM?