Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Lahore today after springing a massive surprise with a tweet announcing that he would “drop by” on his way back to Delhi and meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who turned 66 today. The decision, say sources, was a “spontaneous” one taken this morning.
“Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,” the prime minister tweeted this afternoon. Mr Sharif was at the airport to receive Mr Modi.
Sources say PM Modi decided to go after his phone call to Mr Sharif to wish him on his birthday. This is his first visit to Pakistan since taking office last year and the first visit by an Indian prime minister in 12 years.
Pakistani authorities on Friday put security on high alert in Lahore especially around the airport area following the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brief visit to the city.
A PM House spokesman confirmed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will receive his Indian counterpart at the Lahore airport who is expected to reach in Lahore around 2.45 PM (3.15 PM IST) from Afghanistan.
“PM Modi’s plane is scheduled to arrive at the Lahore airport shortly,” the spokesman said, adding that the Indian premier would stay in Lahore for about two hours.”
Meanwhile, heavy contingent of police and Pakistan Rangers have reached the Allama Iqbal International Airport and taken charge of the security.
“Security in Lahore has been put on high alert,” a senior police official told PTI. He said police have also been deployed on the adjoining areas of the airport.
A PML-N source told PTI that Sharif had invited Modi to attend the marriage of his granddaughter Mehrun Nisa which is taking place on Thursday at the Sharif’s Raiwind palatial residence of Raiwind.
“I cannot confirm but there are chances that Modi goes to Raiwind and holds meeting with PM Sharif at his residence,” he said.
Earlier, Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said, “Yes, we have been informed by the Indian High Commission that PM Narendra Modi would stop over in Lahore to meet our PM today. Details are being worked out.”