Pakistani journalist of Geo TV Hamid Mir and NDTV Group Editor Barkha Dutt were reportedly present when the alleged derogatory comment was made but both denied anything insulting was spoken by Sharif against Singh, at least in their presence.
Barkha Dutt in an article on NDTV website wrote: "Little did I know that a short, off-camera breakfast conversation with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would be distorted to such a grave extent. I went to meet PM Sharif to pursue an interview, one that he gave to our network, and one in which he in fact called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 'a good man' whom he would like to welcome in Pakistan 'for a long overdue visit'."
"Before the interview started, Pakistan's PM was meeting with a small group of people, his officials and some Pakistani journalists for breakfast. PM Sharif invited me to have a cup of tea with them, since I was there for the interview.
"During this informal conversation, PM Sharif expressed unhappiness over the fact that Pakistan had been so central to the meeting between PM Singh and US President Barack Obama. He argued that India should have brought its grievances to Pakistan directly. He also said it reminded him of an allegorical story of a dispute between two people in a village, in which one was a woman. The moral of his story was that disputes should be settled between parties directly and not involve a third party."
"There was, in my presence, no pejorative word or derogatory phrase used for PM Singh. His story was an illustrative example of dispute resolutions between India, Pakistan and the United States," Dutt wrote.
"I was taken aback when informed that Hamid Mir of Geo had said otherwise in a phone report. Normally, informal, off record conversations are not for reporting. But when I saw how this conversation, at least the part that I witnessed, was distorted, I felt I must share some of these details to set the record straight.
"It is significant that since then Hamid Mir, who was the sole basis of this entire controversy, has also retracted his original narrative on Twitter saying that 'nothing derogatory was said by Sharif about the PM'", wrote Barkha Dutt.
Hamid Mir later tweeted: "@Drm_Wvr_ Barkha left and came back with camera she was not present all the time its not a big issue let's hope for the best."
"PM Nawaz never said anything derogatory against Manmohan," tweeted Mir.
"PM Nawaz Sharif shared a joke with us on breakfast table about Manmohan ji its very long I cannot mention," he said.
Addressing the first ever rally in the national capital, Narendra Modi asked how dare the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh was insulted and called a "dehati aurat" (a rural woman) by his Pakistani counterpart in USA where the PM is visiting now.
Commenting on the dialogue scheduled between Singh and Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in New York, at his Delhi rally here Modi projected his nationalist image and said people in India are apprehensive whether Singh can stand upright and question the Pakistani PM during their talks.
"Pradhanmantirji, if you can hear the mothers of the slain jawans, then bring the 'heads' (respects) back of those Indian jawans who sacrificed their lives for the country and got beheaded," Modi said while Singh and Sharif were to meet in New York.
He also slammed the Indian journalists for attending the breakfast hosted by Sharif, where the latter had alleged to have called the Indian PM a 'dehati aurat' meaning rural, ignorant woman.
Slamming Sharif, he said, "How dare you call my country's PM a 'dehati aurat'?"
"I will fight with my PM internally over principles, but I will never tolerate any external people dishonouring my country's PM," he said.
He said the Pakistani PM has dared so much because the Indian Prime Minister has lost his position in India itself.
"His own party calls him 'nonsense'; Congress ke vice president ne PM ki pagdi uchal di hai ( Congress vice president insulted the PM)," Modi blamed, referring to Rahul Gandhi rejecting an Ordinance in Parliament being brought by the government of Manmohan Singh.
--IBNS (Posted on 29-09-2013)