NEW DELHI — Pakistani MPs who visited Parliament on Friday complained they were not given a proper welcome and were ignored by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, reported NDTV.
The delegation’s visit has been organized by a private group as part of dialogue initiated by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for parliamentarians on both sides.
The Pakistani lawmakers said they were not allowed in Parliament on Thursday and today, they were never introduced in the house.
“Today we visited Parliament…and nobody mentioned us. We sat in the gallery. In other Parliaments the Speaker announces and introduces the delegates. We sat for 20 minutes but there was no announcement, no welcome,” Rasheed Gudlam told NDTV.
Mr Gudlam said on Thursday, the delegation was denied entry into the House by the “Speaker’s security personnel.”
“We requested that we want to visit Parliament. But liberal democratic India wouldn’t allow parliamentarians from Pakistan to visit Parliament. It’s amazing,” he said.
The MPs said they also tried to meet the Speaker twice but couldn’t – the first time she was busy and the second time, around lunch, she was not in her office.
“We went twice today. Her staff gave us time at 12. We came a little after that and she left,” Mr Gudlam said.
“I think there was some miscommunication. She seems busy,” said his colleague Maiza.
The Speaker said she was unaware of the delegation. “I was waiting. Nobody came,” she said while leaving Parliament. Her office said she was not obliged to meet the Pakistani MPs as the delegation is private.
BJP MP Kirti Azad, who was in charge of receiving the Pakistanis, said he had urged them to come on time but they arrived at seven minutes past 1 pm. “I had asked them to be quick but they were late. They have to honour the Speaker at least,” Mr Azad said. Responding to their complaint about not being welcomed, he admitted, “There must have been a glitch somewhere.”