The Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) alliance government is all set to accord a grand welcome to Pakistan's Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif who is flying over to Amritsar along with his family on December 13.
The Punjab government is making elaborate arrangements to show their Pakistani counterparts that when it comes to hosting a guest of Sharif's stature they are perhaps a step ahead of them in being hospitable and lavish.
Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal led a delegation of cabinet ministers, including Sikander Singh Maluka, Anil Joshi, Bikram Singh Majithia and Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, and a battery of civil and police officials in November last year to enjoy the unprecedented hospitality of the neighbouring country.
In fact, as a gesture from a good host, Sharif even sent a gift of nearly one dozen quality bovines to the delight of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. These included three Sahnewal cows, one bull, three Neeli Ravi buffaloes and one bull, three sheep and one ram.
All arrangements are being made under the instructions of Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia. The government has already arranged for two luxury choppers, each having a seating capacity of eight members, which would be detailed for the Pak guests for three days.
Sharif (62) is the younger brother of Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and is currently serving third term as the chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab. He is travelling along with wife Tehmina Durrani, children Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Salman Shahbaz Sharif and Rabia Imran and some relatives and friends.
After landing at Amritsar, Sharif and other guests would be straight away brought to SAS Nagar for a lavish dinner to be hosted in their honour. A specific place is being finalised to host the dinner for the Pakistan Punjab chief minister and his family to match the grandeur of the event. Though the state government had earlier wished to host the dinner at Rock Garden in Chandigarh, the same had to be cancelled.
On December 14, Sharif along with other delegates will travel to Ludhiana to learn about the livestock management and agricultural marketing. He will also be taken to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) for demonstrations and exhibitions on livestock management and marketing of agricultural produce.
The same day, the chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab will also be taken to a revenue office at a tehsil or at district-level to witness how the Punjab government managed to computerise the revenue records of nearly 13,000 villages. Sharif has expressed keen interest to understand how he could replicate the same exercise in Pakistan's Punjab where land disputes are order of the day due to shoddy management of revenue records.
On December 15, Sharif will be taken to Badal village to see biogas plant and on the same day he will also fly over to Amritsar to visit his ancestral village, Jatti Umra. He and his family will also visit Harmandar Sahib to pay obeisance.
Sharif had also expressed keen interest to have a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi, but the same could not materialised.
During his visit, Sharif would also get to have a glimpse of kabaddi matches at Ludhiana and Amritsar.