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Rehman Malik arrives in India after confusion over PAF clearance

December 14, 2012 19:26 IST
Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik's arrived in New Delhi on Friday on a three-day visit to the country. His arrival delayed by four hours after he took a Pakistan Air Force plane in a change of plans that required fresh clearance from the Indian side.

According to official sources, Pakistan informed India only late on Thursday night that Malik along with a 13-member official delegation and five media persons will be taking a PAF plane.

The sources said during the exchange of details of the itinerary of Malik, Pakistan informed India he would be travelling by a special aircraft for which the authorities gave clearance for landing at the Palam Technical Airport.

As per set procedures and international protocol, the IAF has to check the number of crew and ascertain the type of equipments if a military plane is used.

After getting necessary details from the Pakistani side, the plane was cleared for landing but only at the civilian side of the airport and not at the technical area.

Mailk, who was originally scheduled to land at 2 p.m, finally landed at 6 p.m

Will again invite Dr Singh to visit Pak: Malik

Malik said he would reiterate government's invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan during his trip to India.

President Asif Ali Zardari had already invited Dr Singh to visit Pakistan, Malik told the media before leaving for Delhi.

"I would also invite the Indian Prime Minister for a visit on behalf of our leadership," he said.

Malik is visiting New Delh for the operationalisation of a new visa agreement signed by the two countries in September.

He described the visa accord as a gift from the leadership of both countries to future generations as peace and stability between the two sides would usher in a new era of progress and development.

People from India and Pakistan, especially senior citizens, businessmen, traders and journalists, can easily visit both countries to further enhance trade and cultural relations, he said.

Malik claimed his visit to India was a "victory for peace and those who wanted to see an improvement in Pakistan-India relations".

He said that during his visit, he would give message to the world that Pakistan and India are peace-loving nations that believe in coexistence and want to live as peaceful neighbours.

Earlier in the day, Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal met Malik ahead of his visit to Delhi.          

Malik and the Indian envoy discussed "bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest", Pakistani officials said. They also discussed the new visa pact.

Ahead of Malik's arrival in Delhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said India had seen "little progress" as far as accountability by Pakistan for the Mumbai attacks is concerned.

Pakistani authorities arrested seven men, including Lashkar-e-Tayiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, for alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. However, their trial has been hit by several delays.
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