Indian PM invited on Guru Nanak’s anniversary
ISLAMABAD, July 27: President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday formally invited Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan in November on the occasion of Baba Guru Nanak Sahib’s birth anniversary.
“It gives me great pleasure to extend Your Excellency a cordial invitation to visit Pakistan. We could use that occasion to arrange a visit to your ancestral home town. If the visit were to coincide with the birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak Sahib that would not only be well received by the Pakistani nation but also reinforce our mutual desire to promote inter-faith and inter-religious harmony,” President Zardari said in a letter to Dr Singh.
The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion, will be observed on Nov 28.The president had first invited the Indian leader to visit Pakistan during his trip to India in April for pilgrimage to Ajmer Sharif.
The Indian government has so far been linking the acceptance of Pakistani invitation to action against terrorist groups targeting India and more particularly, expeditious prosecution of the Mumbai attack accused.
In his letter delivered to the Indian premier through Pakistan High Commission in Delhi, the president mentioned progress in bilateral ties and said Mr Singh’s visit could help take stock of the state of the relationship.
Mr Zardari underscored the significance of maintaining the momentum generated in the relations through engagements between the two sides.
“It is important to sustain this process and make it more productive and result oriented,” he noted and added “the intensity and the range of these engagements will help promote our ties in the right direction and will also help in realising our shared dream of a peaceful and prosperous South Asia.”
The two sides apparently did not make much progress during the recently concluded round of the revived peace process, but Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna during his visit to Srinagar on Thursday disclosed that the two countries had reconciled on a number of `sensitive issues’. He did not elaborate which issues he was referring to.
Mr Krishna is due to visit Pakistan on Sept 7 for the political review of the peace process. Mr Zardari’s offer to Dr Singh of arranging a trip to his hometown in Gah, about 100km from Islamabad; and coinciding it with the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak gives a personal touch to the invitation.
During their meeting in April both Mr Zardari and Dr Singh had agreed on continuing the dialogue for the sake of “finding practical and pragmatic solutions” to all issues that had been bedevilling bilateral ties.
The president recalled the meeting in Delhi, saying: “We had an excellent meeting.”