Pakistan on Saturday expressed satisfaction at the tone and tenor of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's letter to military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf inviting him to New Delhi for talks saying it had no 'painful references or irritants'.
Musharraf, who met senior officials and advisors soon after the letter was delivered to Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq by acting Indian High Commissioner Sudhir Vyas on Friday, ordered officials to initiate consultations with hard line religious and jihadi groups opposed to the talks on issues that may be discussed during his summit with Vajpayee.
The decision to initiate consultations with the various shades of opinions, including the Jihadi groups which were doggedly opposed to the talks, was considered to be significant as Musharraf wanted to create a broad consensus for his first ever summit with Vajpayee.
Religious parties like Jamaat-e-Islami have already welcomed the Indian invitation for talks.
A highly placed official said Pakistan was very much satisfied with the way the Indian letter of invitation was drafted.
"There is a general sense of satisfaction about the way the letter is drafted as it has no painful references or irritants," he said.
A spokesman of the Pakistan Information Ministry had said on Friday night that a reply to the letter was being drafted at the highest level and it would be delivered to India in two or three days.
He said the Pakistan government accorded top priority to the Indian initiative as Musharraf himself presided over the meeting of senior officials and advisors to scrutinise the contents of the letter and prepare a 'fitting and appropriate' response at the earliest.
Besides drafting the response, Musharraf also instructed his senior officials to begin consultations with leaders of various religious parties, militant groups as well as 'centre-right' intellectuals and senior journalists about the broad agenda that could form part of the framework of his talks with Vajpayee, the official said.
The format of the consultations is, however, yet to be decided, he said adding the 'structure of the consultations could be formal or informal'.
Asked about the nature of the response being contemplated by Pakistan to Vajpayee's letter, the official said its tone had already been set with Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar stating on Thursday that Islamabad would respond with in a 'positive spirit'.
"There is no change in that perception," he added.
It was still not clear whether officials would discuss the issue with mainstream political parties, which reacted favourably to the invitation.
However, almost all militant groups, including the Laskar-e-Tayiba, have expressed firm opposition to Musharraf visiting India saying the invitation was a 'trap'.
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