Ending all speculation, the Centre on Tuesday said that Indian Commissioner in Islamabad, Sharat Sabharwal, will represent the country at Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony of newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. There had been speculation that India would send a higher profile official, after Sharif had told journalists on May 12 that he would be happy to invite Indian Prime Minister to his swearing-in ceremony. But this was discounted by official sources, who pointed out that there was no formal invite so far. But, the rumours started circulating again following PM’s special envoy Satinder Lambah’s meeting with Sharif in Lahore on May 27, during which the latter is believed to have extended an invite to Manmohan.
This led to the rumour mills working overtime to find out who would represent India at the swearing-in ceremony. Union external affairs minister Salman Khurshid, though, termed it a “local event”. However, he said, “Missions will all be represented. I am not sure if there are any invites for anybody. Certainly not to our knowledge and, therefore, there wasn’t any need to take a decision on this.” He also noted that there would “probably be not enough time between the formal election in the National Assembly and the actual swearing-in”.