Pak PM Ashraf offers prayers at Ajmer Sharif Dargah

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 09, 2013 13:00 hrs

Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who visited the historic dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer to offer his prayers on Saturday, offered a 'Chadar' at the Mazar of the Sufi Saint.

The Pakistani Prime Minister was accompanied by wife, sons and other relatives on his personal visit. He was received by members of Anjuman and Dargah Committee on his arrival at the 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.

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.

Ashraf, who has now returned to Jaipur, will leave for Islamabad this evening.

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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