‘Dehati aurat’ row: Sharif sends denial to Singh
Islamabad: The ‘dehati aurat’ comment attributed to him reportedly deeply upset Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who swung into damage-control mode, sending a message to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying he never used such language against him.
According to senior Pakistani officials, Sharif directed his close aides to get in touch with Indian officials as soon as the controversy over his purported comments erupted.
The Pakistani PM reportedly tasked his Foreign Secretary, Jalil Abbas Jilani, to convey to Dr Singh the factual position, that he never made the controversial remark.
Jilani, according to sources, telephoned National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon early in the morning to explain Pakistan's position on the matter. Menon reportedly told Jilani that he had already verified the authenticity of the alleged statement and was aware of the factual position.
Prime Minister Singh, too, had been informed about the matter, Menon said.
His assurances, sources say, came as a major relief to the Pakistani delegation and Prime Minister Sharif.
Earlier, a Pakistani journalist, who was present at the breakfast hosted by Sharif where the ‘dehati remark’ remark was allegedly made, denied the Pakistani Prime Minister having used the words for Dr Singh.
"He (Nawaz Sharif) never uttered any such word," said Absar Alam of Pakistan's Aaj TV, adding that Sharif had only made his displeasure known about Dr Singh having "complained" against Pakistan during his meeting with President Barack Obama by citing an anecdotal story.
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