Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote a letter to former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif to extend condolences on the death of Sharif’s mother last month, according to Pakistani media reports on Thursday.
The letter was forwarded by chargé d’affaires Gaurva Ahluwalia at the Indian high commission in Islamabad to Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz on December 11 with a request that it should be conveyed to her father, who has been living in the UK since last year.
Shamim Akhtar, the mother of Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) president Shehbaz Sharif, died in Britain on November 22. Her body was brought to Pakistan for burial at the family’s estate at Jati Umra in Lahore.
Modi’s letter dated November 27, which was accessed by Dawn News TV channel, stated: “I am deeply saddened to learn about the demise of your mother Begum Shamim Akhtar on 22 November in London. My heartfelt condolences are with you in this hour of intense grief.”
Addressing Sharif as “Mian Sahib”, the name usually used in Pakistan’s political circles for the former premier, Modi wrote: “Her simplicity and warmth was indeed very touching. In this moment of profound grief, I pray to the Almighty to bestow strength upon you and your family to bear this irreparable loss. May the departed soul rest in peace.”
This is perhaps Modi’s first outreach to a Pakistani leader since ties between the two countries hit a low following the terror attack on Pathankot airbase in January 2016.