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Pakistan President Zardari arrives in India with large delegation
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari arrived Sunday morning in the Indian capital on a six-hour visit that has raised a lot of expectations in the subcontinent despite the fact that it is being labelled as a private visit.
During the short visit he will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before visiting the famous Ajmer dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti that draws people from all over the world.
Zardari’s plane touched down at the Indira Gandhi International Airport just after noon. He is accompanied by his son Bilawal, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and a large delegation in two planeloads, signifying the importance that both countries are attaching to this hastily organised trip which Zardari himself said is of a “religious nature”.
President Asif Ali Zardari will invite Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan when the two leaders meet Sunday, a media report said here.
All issues between the two countries, including Siachen, Sir Creek, visa liberalisation, trade, water and the regional situation, could be discussed when the two leaders meet over lunch in New Delhi, Geo News reported citing diplomatic sources.
An invitation to Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan will be reiterated in the meeting. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, during her visit to India in July 2011, had extended an invite to the Indian prime minister.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had twice invited his Indian counterpart to visit Pakistan – during the SAARC summit in Maldives in November 2011 and during the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul in March.
In the first presidential visit from Pakistan in the last seven years, Zardari, accompanied by an over 40-member delegation, flies to New Delhi.
Zardari would head straight to the prime minister’s official residence at 7 Race Course Road for the one-on-one talks, followed by lunch with senior members of the delegation. He would later fly to Ajmer to offer prayers at the revered shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.