At lunch, PM asks Pak Prez to pray for better ties | delhi | Hindustan Times
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At lunch, PM asks Pak Prez to pray for better ties

delhi Updated: Apr 08, 2012 23:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Over a delicious spread that included kebabs, biryani and masala dosa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's lunch for visiting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was all about improving ties between India and Pakistan.

So much so that at the end of the 50-minute interaction among distinguished guests, Singh asked Zardari to pray for peace between both the countries at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer.

During lunch, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed figured as a subject in the PM's discussion with Zardari, who was said to have pointed out that he was arrested four times and released by the courts on each occasion.

Zardari was keen to understand how India managed to improve trade relations with China despite having a boundary dispute. The PM replied by saying that the two countries had worked out a mechanism that circumvented the dispute while dealing with other matters such as trade.

Home minister P Chidambaram was seen exchanging notes with his Pakistan counterpart, Rehman Malik. The meeting was also attended by leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and senior BJP leader LK Advani.

Later, Sushma tweeted that Singh had asked Zardari to pray for peace between their countries at the shrine in Ajmer.

Rahul, Bilawal bond
The cynosure of all eyes, however, was Zardari's son, Bilawal Bhutto, who was seated next to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi - both of them engaged in a deep conversation.

Bilawal reportedly invited Rahul Gandhi to visit his country. "Prez n I enjoyed lunch with Rahul Gandhi and PM Singh. much to learn from each other," Bilawal posted on Twitter.

Earlier, dressed in a pathani suit, 23-year-old Bilawal tweeted to announce his landing in India to over 14,000 of his followers on the Internet: "AOA India Peace be with you. I have just landed in Delhi. 1st ever visit."