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Pak PM to visit India; no official meetings scheduled

March 05, 2013 17:10 IST

No official meeting is scheduled during the visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who is arriving on Saturday in Jaipur on a pilgrimage to Ajmer Sharif.

Ashraf, along with his family members, will land in Jaipur and then proceed to Ajmer Sharif to offer prayers at the Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. He will not make any stop-over in Delhi.

"Neither was there any proposal from Pakistan side (for a meeting between Ashraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) nor is there any move from India to schedule a meeting during his visit," sources said.

This is likely to be Ashraf's last foreign visit before the term of his government ends on March 16.

Preparations for the day-long visit on March 9 were being finalised, diplomatic and other sources told PTI in Islamabad.

Ashraf's visit is unlike his President Asif Ali Zardari's who came on a day-long visit last April and made a three-hour stopover in New Delhi before flying to Ajmer.

Singh had hosted lunch for the visiting Pakistani president and two leaders also held comprehensive talks.

"It seems the prime minister wants to offer prayers at the shrine in Ajmer, which he reveres, for the success of the Pakistan People’s Party in the upcoming polls," a source in the Pakistan government said in Islamabad.

Ashraf's visit comes at a time when there is a chill in bilateral ties over the ceasefire violations at the LoC. An Indian soldier was beheaded by Pakistani troops while the mutilated body of another was found in January.

Prime Minister Ashraf has a close relationship with Bilal Chishti, the 'Pir' of the shrine at Ajmer.

Chishti met Ashraf twice in Islamabad last year, in December and August. During the meeting in August, Chishti invited the premier to visit Ajmer.

Ashraf accepted the invitation and said he would visit Ajmer at "the first available opportunity".

The shrine in Ajmer is revered by many people in Pakistan, including top political leaders.

Rezaul H Laskar Islamabad/New Delhi
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