Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over telephone and congratulated the latter on his victory in the Lok Sabha elections 2019.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said that PM Modi thanked Khan and, at the same time, reiterated his suggestion of jointly fighting poverty in the two countries.

“Recalling his initiatives in line with his government’s neighbourhood first policy, PM Modi referred to his earlier suggestion to the Pakistani PM to fight poverty jointly,” the MEA said.

At the same time, the PM told Khan that a terrorism-free environment is essential for “peace, progress and prosperity”.

“PM Modi in his telephonic conversation with Pak PM Imran Khan stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in the region,” the statement added.

Khan had on 23 May congratulated PM Modi on Twitter after the BJP-led NDA alliance returned to power by winning 353 seats of the 542 where Lok Sabha elections were held.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief said that he hopes to work with the Indian PM for peace and prosperity in South Asia.

“I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan tweeted.

 

But former Pakistan Information Minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman said that the victory of PM Modi means “a tougher neighbourhood for Pakistan”.

“Exit polls India foretell a BJP landslide. If these polls r close to final count it will mean a tougher neighbourhood for Pakistan.The new BJP’s mandate, among other things is extremism, exclusion.Isl has a sweet tooth for Modi mithai but translating into serious peace unlikely,” she tweeted.

 

Relations between Pakistan and India hit a nadir in the last five years with at least three major terror attacks on Indian military establishment and personnel of armed forces since 2016.

In retaliation, India conducted a surgical strike and an airstrike against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camps.

A day after the 26 February Balakot incident, PAF fighter jets attempted to target Indian military installations in Jammu-Kashmir but were thwarted by IAF fighter jets.

Besides Khan, the PM also received congratulatory telephone calls from former Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed and former Nepal Prime Minister Madhav Nepal.