Pakistani Punjab CM cancels visit to India

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 13, 2012 14:10 hrs

Chandigarh, Dec 13 (IANS) The much anticipated visit of the chief minister of Pakistani Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, to the 'city beautiful,' Chandigarh and Punjab was cancelled at the eleventh hour.

Sharif was expected to enter India through the Attari-Wagah border Friday (Dec 14) around 9.30 p.m., but the Punjab government Thursday received a communication from the neighbouring country of Shahbaz Sharif cancelling his three-day visit.

A 30-member delegation from Pakistan, comprising agriculturists, businessmen and politicians, has also called off its visit.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal a few weeks ago led a business delegation to Lahore, and extended a personal invitation to Sharif.

Sharif was expected to attend the Kabaddi World Cup final Dec 15, as the chief guest, besides also addressing businessmen in the state and spending a night at the private residence of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

A senior official of the Punjab government, requesting anonymity, told IANS: "Sharif has cancelled the visit citing poor health. All preparations had been made and Punjab was decorated like a new bride to welcome the Pakistani guests. We treated the visit as a major CBM (confidence building measure) and a new start to ease bilateral relations."

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