Pak PM On Pilgrimage to India


NEW DELHI: Almost a year after President Asif Ali Zardari visited the shrine of Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz in Ajmer Sharif, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will undertake his first to India this week to seek blessings.

“Pakistan’s prime minister will be in India on Saturday. This is a private visit and he will be accompanied by his family and other officials,” an Indian government official said on condition of anonymity.

“He is not expected to meet any Indian political leaders. This is clearly a religious and spiritual trip,” he told AFP.

A senior Pakistani government official confirmed that Ashraf would make a private visit to India on Saturday, but said the details were being finalised.

“The details, including his programme, what he will do there and who he will meet, are being worked out,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Ashraf will be the most senior Pakistani to visit India since last April when President Asif Ali Zardari embarked on a similar pilgrimage and then had lunch with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Tensions between the neighbours came under fresh strain in January when six soldiers were killed in exchanges along the de facto border in Kashmir, a region claimed by both countries.

The situation has calmed since a ceasefire was agreed between the two armies at the end of January.

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