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Nawaz Sharif sends formal invite to Manmohan Singh

December 12, 2013 22:25 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday got a formal invite from his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif for visiting that country, which was accepted.

The invite was handed over to Singh by Sharif's Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi. The invite was delivered when Sharif's brother and Chief Minister of Pakistan's Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif met Singh for about half an hour.

Shahbaz Sharif told a group of reporters that the Pakistan prime minister's goodwill message was also handed over to Singh along with the invitation. Asked about Singh's response, he said the Indian prime minister accepted the invitation. "Let us see".

Pakistani leaders have been extending invitations to Singh for the last few years but the Indian leader has said his visit would depend on the situation on the ground in terms of terrorism and the LoC.

The Pakistan high commission said the message of goodwill from Nawaz Sharif emphasised "Pakistan's desire to forge friendly and cooperative relations with India in the interest of peace and prosperity of the people of the two countries and of the region."

Shahbaz Sharif is the No.2 in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League and the meeting assumes significance given the disappointment expressed by Singh over the progress on agreed outcome of the meeting between Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistani counterpart in New York in September.

Besides Fatemi, Shahbaz was accompanied by Pakistan's Minister of State for Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan and Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashood Khan and High Commissioner Salman Bashir during the meeting.

The chief minister also underscored the importance of resumption of dialogue and peaceful resolution of all issues, it added.

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