Pak PM Ashraf leaves for Islamabad from Jaipur

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 09, 2013 14:00 hrs

Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf took a special flight to Islamabad on Saturday evening after winding up his day-long personal visit to the shrine of Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti at Ajmer.

The Pakistani Prime Minister, who was accompanied by his wife, sons and other relatives, offered a green-coloured chadar (sacred cloth) at the Mazar of the Sufi Saint in Ajmer.

He was received by members of Anjuman and Dargah Committee on his arrival at the Ajmer dargah.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who received Ashraf Pakistan at the Jaipur airport, hosted a lunch in his honour at the Rambhagh Palace hotel.

Taking to the media in Jaipur after lunch, Khurshid said that it was a personal visit and that there was no formal discussion with the visiting Pakistani Prime Minister.

"This was not an occasion where I could have taken up the contentious issues, nor did I have the right to discuss those issues, which are being raised in the country and by the government. However, we will raise them at the right time and will continue to do so in the near future, said Khurshid.

"This was his personal visit and the time was not appropriate to take up any important issue, which otherwise we would have taken up at the time of an official visit," he added.

The External Affairs Minister also hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for criticizing him for having a luncheon meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister.

"They just have to look at their own history and they will know why," he said.

Elaborate security arrangements were made in and around the shrine keeping in view the Pakistani Prime Minister's visit.

Ashraf also faced a symbolic boycott at the dargah. The dargah dewan of Ajmer shrine, Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, earlier on Friday said that he was opposed to the visit by the Pakistani Prime Minister in the wake of the January 2013 beheading of two Indian soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

On the eve of the Ashraf's visit, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh made it clear that normalisation of relations with Pakistan cannot take place unless the terror infrastructure there is dismantled.

Dr. Singh told the Parliament yesterday that India has made sincere efforts to normalise its relations with Pakistan.

The dialogue process between the two Asian neighbours was impacted by ceasefire violations on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir in January this year with India lodging a strong protest over the brutal killing of two of its soldiers in the Poonch sector. (ANI)

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