Allahabad: India on Wednesday expressed hope that Pakistan Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif will "convert into reality" the "positive signals" he had given during his election campaign. "There were many positive signals from Nawaz Sharif with relation to India during the election campaign. We hope that he will work towards converting these positive signals into reality upon assuming office," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said.
Khurshid, however, parried a query about Sharif's reported decision to keep the sensitive portfolios of Foreign and Defence with himself, a move that is being perceived as his attempt to bolster himself against the powerful army which had dethroned him in a bloodless coup more than a decade ago. "Prime Ministers often tend to keep important portfolios with themselves if they perceive there is a need for the same. There have been instances when our Prime Minister too has taken a personal interest in a certain sphere and hence kept the concerned portfolio with himself for a period of time. Foreign policy is a field in which heads of governments across the world take a lot of interest," he said.
In a lighter vein, he said,"as External Affairs Minister, I am thrilled at the prospect of the opportunity of dealing with the Pakistani Premier. Though it is likely that on most of occasions he would be speaking directly to our PM".
To a query, he said, "there have been complaints from people in various parts of the country that some relative of theirs was lodged in a Pakistani jail. We take such complaints seriously and any such information is handed over to the India Pakistan Judicial Commission comprising two retired judges from each country. The Commission has been empowered to visit jails in both countries and suggest remedial measures".