Pakistan PM to visit India on Saturday
Posted on: 01:00 PM IST Mar 05, 2013
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will visit India on Saturday to offer prayers at the Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer though no official meetings have been lined up so far, sources said on Tuesday. 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 said. No official meetings with the Indian leadership have been finalised so far, a diplomatic source said.
"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. President Asif Ali Zardari, the head of the PPP, made a day-long visit to India in April 2012 to pray at the shrine in Ajmer.
He made a donation of $1 million to the shrine. Zardari also held a luncheon meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that helped give impetus to the bilateral peace process.
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.