- Imran Khan will take oath as Pak prime minister on August 11
- He has called for better relations between Pakistan and India
- His party has denied plans to invite SAARC leaders for oath ceremony
Imran Khan, Pakistan's prime minister-to-be, has invited actor Aamir Khan and former cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Navjot Singh Sidhu to his oath-taking ceremony on August 11. Mr Sidhu accepted the invitation, calling Imran Khan "a man of character".
"It is a great honour and I accept the invitation. Men of genius are admired, men of power are feared but men of character are trusted. Khan Sahab is a man of character. He can be trusted," said Mr Sidhu, also a cricketer-turned-politician like Imran Khan.
Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf emerged as the single largest party in Pakistan's national assembly after the July 25 general election in the country. However, it is still short of numbers to form the government on its own.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is reportedly in talks with other political parties and independent candidates in a bid to woo them to join its ranks to form a coalition government at the centre.
There were earlier reports that Imran Khan is considering inviting leaders of SAARC countries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his oath taking ceremony, but it was rebuffed later by his party.
Fawad Chaudhry, the PTI spokesperson yesterday said on Twitter that they would take the decision on whether foreign dignitaries will be invited after consulting with the Pakistan Foreign Office.
"Media speculations about international dignitaries attending PM oath ceremony are not correct. We have sought the advice of Foreign Office on the matter and will decide accordingly #PTI," he had tweeted.
PM Modi had called Imran Khan to congratulate him on his party's victory in the general elections in Pakistan and hoped that "Pakistan and India will work to open a new chapter in bilateral ties". Imran Khan in his victory speech had also said that better relations between Pakistan and India would be "good for all of us".
Ties between India and Pakistan have remained tense since the Mumbai terror attack in 2008, and worsened after the Uri terror attack by Pak-based terrorists.
Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif had travelled to Delhi to attend PM Modi's oath taking ceremony and PM Modi had made a stopover in Lahore in December 2015 to greet his counterpart on his birthday.
Ties between the two countries strained further after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016 and India's surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control.
The death sentence given by a Pak military court to retired naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was kidnapped from Iran while on a business visit, further deteriorated ties between India and Pakistan.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)