Did Sharif insult Manmohan Singh? Journalists say 'no'

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 29, 2013 14:07 hrs

New Delhi: Did Nawaz Sharif call Manmohan Singh a "dehati aurat" (rural woman)? If yes, did the Pakistan prime minister mean to insult his Indian counterpart?

Once BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi made the alleged remark public at a huge rally here, journalists Hamid Mir of Pakistan and Barkha Dutt of India claimed that no offence was meant.

Mir told Geo TV that Sharif had told him and Barkha Dutt over breakfast in New York that Manmohan Singh had complained, like a "dehati aurat", about Pakistan to US President Barack Obama.

Mir felt Sharif was unhappy with Manmohan Singh.

Mir said: "Sharif smilingly told Barkha: 'Looks like Manmohan Singh went to Obama not like India's prime minister but like a dehati aurat to complain to Obama'.

He later tweeted: "PM Nawaz never said anything derogatory against Manmohan."

NDTV's Barkha Dutt added that "Sharif's allegorical account was all about how disputes should not involve third parties. Not once was a slur passed by him against the PM.

"Sharif was upset that Pakistan (was) raised by India with Obama. In this context, he told an allegorical tale...

"In Sharif's tale, there was a dispute between two villagers, one was a woman. Story ended with how fights should be settled between parties," she said in a tweet.

Modi went on to hit out at Sharif over the reported remark.

"Nawaz Sharif, how dare you say this?" Modi asked, raising his voice at a BJP rally here. "What right you have to say this?"

Modi called Sharif's remark an insult to Indian prime minister. He also demanded to know why the Indian journalist -- whose name he did not take -- at the breakfast meeting with Sharif did not storm out in protest.

Manmohan Singh and Sharif are in New York to attend the UN General Assembly. They are to meet later Sunday to discuss bilateral issues.

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