The media might have followed Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj closely during her recent visit to Pakistan but away from prying eyes, the diplomat met four generations of the Sharif family.
Addressing the Indian parliament last Monday, Swaraj revealed she met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his mother, daughter and granddaughters during her visit to Islamabad earlier this month. However, according to the Hindustan Times, the Indian diplomat did not delve into nostalgic and personal details regarding her meeting with Nawaz’s mother, Shamim Akhtar.
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The premier’s mother reportedly sought a ‘promise’ from Swaraj. “You have come from my country, promise me you will return only after normalising the relationship,” Akhtar reportedly told Swaraj, as she hugged and kissed the Indian minister on her forehead during the meeting.
According to a source who accompanied Swaraj during her visit, the Indian minister in response sought Akhtar’s blessings saying, “Everything will be good in your shadow.”
Further, the premier’s mother is reported to have repeatedly referred to India as “my country.” “She told Swaraj she was born in Bheem Ka Katra in Amritsar in undivided India,” the newspaper quoted the source as saying.
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An emotional Akhtar also told Swaraj she was meeting somebody from her ‘homeland’ for the first time since partition. “The meeting was equally nostalgic for Swaraj,” the source said.
“Sharif’s mother had a grudge that she could never visit her “watan” (India) after partition, but was fond of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had sent a shawl for her,” the newspaper added. “Whenever he [Modi] calls him [Sharif], he always enquires about me. I feel good,” Akhtar was further quoted as saying.
But this was not the end of their meeting. After upholding her promise as during her visit the two countries decided to resume talks., Swaraj reportedly sent a message for Akhtar through the premier’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz. “Tell your grandmother that I have kept my promise of normalising the relationship between the two countries,” Swaraj reportedly told Maryam over the phone before flying for India.
This article originally appeared on the Hindustan Times.
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