Nawaz Sharif to attend Maldives 52nd Independence Day celebrations

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Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif in Maldives

By Muhammad Luqman
Apparently undeterred by Panamagate-related uncertainty at home, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for Male, the capital of Maldives on Tuesday to attend the 52nd Independence Day celebrations of the tiny Indian ocean island country.
Prime Minister is scheduled to be chief guest at the Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday and will return home on Thursday.
The political analysts see this move as a push to assert that the prime minister is still behind the wheel of the government and has control in all key affairs, including the crucial foreign policy matters. That’s why Nawaz Sharif opted to go on a state visit to a SAARC country despite an incident of terrorism that left some 26 persons dead in his home town Lahore on Monday.
In a statement, the Foreign Office spokesman has said that the diplomatic relations with Maldives, established on July 26, 1966, had grown from strength to strength. Both the countries closely coordinate with each other at regional and international forums on issues of mutual importance.
“The Pakistan-Maldives relationships are marked by close and warm sentiments between people of the two countries,” the Foreign Office stated. “The visit of the prime minister will provide impetus to further strengthen our bilateral relations with the Maldives in all areas, including politics, trade, economy, defence, tourism, education and people to people contacts,” the statement concluded.

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