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Pakistan PM to attend Indian inauguration, a first

Sharif already congratulated Modi over his Bharatiya Janata Party's landslide victory in the elections that concluded last week. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed/Files

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's prime minister will attend the inauguration of India's Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi, a first for the nuclear-armed rivals, his spokesman said Saturday.

Pakistan and India have a history of uneasy relations and they have fought three wars over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir since their independence from Britain in 1947. Saturday's decision by could signal a further easing of tensions.

A statement from Nawaz Sharif's office said the prime minister had been invited this week by New Delhi to attend the ceremony. Sharif already congratulated Modi over his Bharatiya Janata Party's landslide victory in the elections that concluded last week.

State-run Pakistan Television said Sharif also would meet with the Indian president during his visit.

Relations between Pakistan and India froze after an attack on Mumbai in 2008 in which Pakistani terrorists killed 166 people. A mild thaw since has helped trade, though not much progress has been made in normalizing bilateral ties.

During the election campaign, Modi took a tough stance on Pakistan's role in sponsoring terror attacks in India. But since his victory, Modi has softened his stand somewhat. He has said that he would like to engage India's neighbors and have friendly relations with them.

Meanwhile Saturday, bomb attacks in Pakistan killed at least seven people. The deadliest attack happened when a roadside bomb exploded near the village of Shati in the Mohmand tribal region, killing six soldiers, the military said. In a statement, the military said "terrorists" planted the bomb, without elaborating.

In the capital, Islamabad, a bomb exploded in a supermarket parking lot at about 2 a.m. Saturday, killing a guard and wounding a passer-by, police officer Chaudhry Abid said. A second bomb exploded outside another market about 5 kilometers away, breaking windows but wounding no one, police officer Mohammad Shafqat said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings, though authorities have blamed the Pakistani Taliban for similar attacks across the country. The attacks come days after Pakistani warplanes pounded militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan, killing 60. The military said those killed were militants. Local residents said civilians also died.

Pakistan's government, led by Sharif, has been negotiating with the Taliban to end their violent insurgency, which has killed thousands.

 

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Summary

Pakistan's prime minister will attend the inauguration of India's Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi, a first for the nuclear-armed rivals, his spokesman said Saturday.

Relations between Pakistan and India froze after an attack on Mumbai in 2008 in which Pakistani terrorists killed 166 people.

During the election campaign, Modi took a tough stance on Pakistan's role in sponsoring terror attacks in India. But since his victory, Modi has softened his stand somewhat. He has said that he would like to engage India's neighbors and have friendly relations with them.

Meanwhile Saturday, bomb attacks in Pakistan killed at least seven people.


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