While some media reports said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had personally invited the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to attend the 'historic' joint session, but the latter had expressed his inability to do so citing personal reasons, others said that the Sharifs were not invited.
National Assembly spokesman Mehboob Gurmani said only those who held official positions either at the Centre or provinces were invited and no former Prime Minister was invited.
"We only invited the governors, chief ministers, speakers of provincial assemblies and other dignitaries occupying senior positions," The News quoted Gurmani, as saying.
Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also reports that Gilani had invited Nawaz for Parliament's joint session.
"The PML-N Quaid didn't receive any invitation for the presidential speech," Khan said.
Some PML-N leaders, who refused to be named, said the absence of Sharifs was a well planned strategy of their party as it does not wants to show solidarity with Zardari.
They said the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) remains the main political rival of the PML-N. (ANI)