KATHMANDU: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will bring his own car to a regional meeting in Nepal next week, an official said on Tuesday, turning down an offer to borrow a bulletproof limousine lent by Pakistan’s arch rival, India.
Pakistan will transport Sharif’s car hundreds of kilometers to Nepal’s capital in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Leaders from eight nations meet for two days from Nov. 26 for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).Mistrust between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, the two largest members of SAARC, have overshadowed the forum that was formed in 1985 to help develop the world’s least economically integrated region.
“We have made arrangements for vehicles for all leaders for the summit,” Khaga Nath Adhikari, a spokesman for Nepal’s foreign ministry said. “If anyone wants to bring his or her own car, we have no objection.”
Nepal has two limousines and has rented six bullet-proof cars from India for the visiting leaders.
Shankar Sharma, a former Nepali ambassador to the United States, said the decision showed distrust between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since independence from Britain – two of them over the Muslim-majority Kashmir.
“They (Pakistan) may have their own suspicion about using the car brought from India,” Sharma said.Adhikari said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would also bring his own car.