New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for receiving Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the airport, the Congress on Wednesday asked whether according a grand welcome to “those who praised” Pakistan’s “anti-terror efforts” was the PM’s way of remembering the Pulwama attack martyrs.

In a special gesture, the prime minister received the Saudi crown prince at Palam airport on Tuesday night. The visit comes days after a suicide bomber belonging to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.

“National interests V/S Modiji’s ‘hugplomacy’.

“Breaking protocol, grand welcome to those who pledged USD 20 billion to Pakistan and praised Pakistan’s ‘anti-terror’ efforts. Is it ur way of remembering martyrs of Pulwama?” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Twitter.

The Congress spokesperson was referring to the crown prince’s visit to Pakistan, during which the two countries signed investment agreements worth USD 20 billion.

Surjewala also tagged photographs of Modi hugging the crown prince and sharing a laugh at the Palam airport.

He urged Modi to “show courage” and ask Saudi Arabia to undo its joint statement with Pakistan, in which they called for avoiding “politicisation” of the UN listing regime at a time when India was stepping up efforts to brand JeM chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist.

“Modiji, Is asking for a terrorist to be designated as such politicisation of UN listings? Would you show courage to ask Saudi Arabia to undo their ‘Joint Statement’ with Pak virtually rejecting India’s demand for designating Masood Azhar as a ‘global terrorist’?” he said.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma also attacked Modi for going out of the way in welcoming the Saudi crown prince.

“PM Modi seems to be eager to compete with and emulate the Pakistan PM Imran Khan in breaking protocol and receiving Saudi Crown Prince… without any need or justification,” Sharma said in a series of tweets.

“Worse, the joint statement does not refer to the ban on either Jaish or Masood Azhar,” he said.

The fact that the crown prince has visited Pakistan after the dastardly attack and refused to endorse the ban on Masood Azhar and the declaration of Jaish-e-Mohammed as a terrorist organisation, seems to have been lost on the prime minister, Sharma claimed, terming it a “glaring diplomatic failure” for which Modi must answer to the nation.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.