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Modi and Sharif conversation freeze: No handshake, just a wave

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United Nations: Days of speculation ended with a wave across a table.

Would Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif meet? wondered pundits, diplomats and journalists. Or would they shake hands? Or have a ‘pullaside’ – a quick conversation on the sidelines?

They finally got their answer at Modi’s last UN event about four hours before he left on Monday. Modi and Sharif exchanged a couple of waves and smiles across the table at the Peacekeeping Summit convened by President Barack Obama. And that was it. Sharif waved first and Modi responded.

Modi and Sharif shared the same hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, but avoiding each other was easy. The hotel has several entrances and leaders’ entries and exits through driveways that lead right into the middle of the building are carefully orchestrated.

Some diplomatic gestures are carefully arranged. One of Modi’s diplomatic assignments listed for Monday included a ‘handshake/exchange of greeting’ with Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat as Modi approaches his table. But the wave wasn’t.

When Modi and Sharif met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit Ufa in Russia in July, they opened the possibilities of a de-freeze in ties between the two countries. However, the deep freeze has returned with firing across the border and the cancellation of the talks between the National Security Advisers.

Now its time to decipher the nuances of the smiles and waves for clues to the next phase of diplomacy.

(By Arul Louis, IANS)

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Nawaz Sharif Denied Assistant, Told to Maintain Jail Room Himself

The prisons chief said Sharif's case was highly sensitive due to which he was not allowed to go outside his barracks in the prison

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Ousted Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif appears with his daughter Maryam at a news conference at a hotel in London, Britain, July 11, 2018.

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, lodged in the city’s Kot Lakhpat Jail, has been denied an orderly and told to clean his prison room himself.

The Punjab province government on Wednesday said it could not provide a prisoner to the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader who could serve as his “orderly” and that he would have to maintain his room on his own, Dawn newspaper reported on Thursday.

Inspector General of Prisons Shahid Saleem Beg said that Sharif was asked to maintain his room to serve the seven-year “rigorous” imprisonment handed down to him in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills/Hill Metal Establishment corruption on December 24.

A petition was submitted in the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday to register a treason case against ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif following his controversial remarks on 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Sharif denied assistant, told to maintain jail room himself. IANS

The National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan’s anti-corruption body, while sentencing Sharif had ruled that Al-Azizia Steel Mills — a Saudi Arabian firm carrying the name of his son — belonged to the former Prime Minister, who was unable to demonstrate how the project was funded.

Also Read- Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurates Eight Projects in Manipur

The three-time Premier was provided with a “B-class” room in the Kot Lakhpat Jail with a TV set, bed, blanket, heater, a chair and table. The prisons chief said Sharif’s case was highly sensitive due to which he was not allowed to go outside his barracks in the prison.

He said Sharif’s “rigour had been kept within his barracks”. However, he later clarified to Dawn that Sharif had not been put to any rigour and that they were sensitive to how Sharif was treated because the country’s reputation was at stake. (IANS)