Ashraf to visit India,no official meet on cards

There will be no official meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:March 6, 2013 12:29 am

There will be no official meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf,who will be coming to India for a personal visit to Ajmer Sharif.

Sources said there was no proposal from the Pakistani side for a meeting with Singh. However,there is a possibility that External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid or one of his deputies will be going to Jaipur to receive him as a matter of protocol. A final decision will be made in the next few days.

Ashraf,along with family members,will land in Jaipur and then proceed to Ajmer Sharif to offer prayers at the Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. He will not make any stop-over in Delhi.

This is likely to be Ashraf’s last foreign visit before the term of his government ends on March 16. Unlike President Asif Ali Zardari’s day-long visit last April when he made a three-hour stop-over in New Delhi before flying to Ajmer,Ashraf will not meet Singh.

Ashraf’s visit comes months after ceasefire violations by Pakistan at the LoC. An Indian soldier was beheaded by Pakistani troops while the mutilated body of another was found in January.

Ashraf reportedly has close relationship with Bilal Chishti,the ‘Pir’ of the Ajmer shrine. Chishti met Ashraf twice in Islamabad last year,in December and August. During the meeting in August,he invited Ashraf to visit Ajmer. Ashraf had accepted the invitation and said he would visit Ajmer at “the first available opportunity”.

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