A day ahead of the home secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan, a six-member delegation headed by Pakistan interior secretary Qamar uz Zaman Chaudhry crossed over through the Attari border on Sunday morning.
"I have come here with the message of friendship from Pakistan. Our priority will be to discuss various issues for improving relations between the two countries," Chaudhry said.
Lauding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for inviting the Prime Minister and President of his country for the cricket World Cup semifinal in Mohali, Chaudhry said, "Pakistan has welcomed the gesture. The Prime Minister and President have sent a message of appreciation. We are hopeful that the gesture will bring the two nations closer."
On cricket diplomacy, he said, "People of both countries love the game. It is good to have common things."
Chaudhry stated that there was a need for improving people-to-people contact between the two countries.
"This will be one of the issues we are going to raise during the two-day talks with our Indian counterparts. We will talk about easing visa norms so that people of both nations can meet more frequently," he added.
When asked about the mood in Pakistan regarding the March 30 semifinal, Chaudhry said, "It is very upbeat. Pakistan has a huge cricket following and almost everyone wants to come here. There are constraints, but hopefully many fans will be able to make it. I will be watching the game."
Earlier, BSF IG Himmat Singh welcomed the Pakistani delegation at the India-Pakistan gate at the Attari border.
The interior secretary was given a guard of honour by BSF jawans and accorded the red-carpet welcome.
Chaudhry arrived in a chopper that landed on the other side of the border and from there he crossed over on foot.
Later, Chaudhry paid obeisance at Harmandar Sahib.