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July 1, 1999
Vajpayee 'sent secret envoy' to Pak
Special Correspondent in New Delhi
Several newspapers in Pakistan have reported that a top Indian journalist visited Lahore last week as Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's emissary.
According to The Nation of Pakistan, R K Mishra, editor-in-chief of The Business and Political Observer , had met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief in Lahore during his short visit.
Quoting an official, the newspaper also confirmed the 'secret visit' of former Pakistan foreign secretary Niaz A Naik to New Delhi last week. Islamabad had earlier denied reports about Naik's 'secret mission'.
The purpose of such 'back-channel exchanges', according to the newspaper, was to resolve the Kargil conflict. "There is nothing strange in it," an top official was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has demanded an explanation from Vajpayee for reportedly sending an emissary accompanied by an external affairs ministry official to meet Sharief.
Addressing the media in Madurai, he said Vajpayee was only heading a caretaker government. He urged President K R Narayanan to call for the records under Article 78(b) of the Constitution and pull up Vajpayee for going beyond the limits of a caretaker prime minister.
Additional reportage: UNI
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