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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Pakistani PM to visit India on pilgrimage

AFP  New Delhi, March 05, 2013
First Published: 10:58 IST(5/3/2013) | Last Updated: 11:37 IST(5/3/2013)

Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will visit India for the first time this week for a day-long pilgrimage to an Islamic shrine, a senior government official said in New Delhi on Tuesday. Officials maintain this is strictly a personal, and not a diplomatic visit.

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"Pakistan's prime minister will be in India on Saturday. This is a private visit and he will be accompanied by his family and other officials," the official said on condition of anonymity. "He is not expected to meet any Indian political leaders. This is clearly a religious and spiritual trip," he added.

Ashraf and his family are expected to pray at the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz in Ajmer Sharif, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) west of New Delhi.

It will be the most senior visit from a Pakistani official to India since last April when President Asif Ali Zardari embarked on a similar pilgrimage and then had a lunch meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours came under fresh strain in January when a total of six soldiers were killed in exchanges along the de facto border in Kashmir, a region claimed by both countries. The situation has calmed since a ceasefire was agreed between the two armies at the end of January.


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