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Agra invite to Musharraf was Qazi?s idea: Advani

Advani said it was Pakistan's stand on not recognising terrorism and referring to the violence in the Valley as freedom struggle which led to Agra summit's collapse.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 03:17 IST

Former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani on Friday night disclosed that it was on the suggestion of then Pakistan Ambassador to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi that he urged then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to invite President Gen Pervez Musharraf to the failed Agra summit.

Speaking after releasing 'Sunday Sentiments', a collection of Karan Thapar's collection of articles written in the Hindustan Times, the Leader of the Opposition said most of the talks he had with Qazi was through the noted journalist and television anchor.

"Immediately after Kargil, there was a change of regime in Pakistan and the elected Prime Minister was replaced by General Musharraf but Ashraf said that if one effort (Vajpayee's famous Lahore bus trip) did not succeed, it does not mean, another attempt would not succeed and that he should be invited.

"I ventured to make the suggestion to the Prime Minister which he accepted though it was not endorsed by all others in the Foreign Ministry and one of them had said it", he said.

Advani, who was widely perceived to be responsible for the failure of the summit, said it was Pakistan's stand on not recognising terrorism and referring to the violence in the Valley as freedom struggle which led to its collapse.

The BJP leader, who had to step down as party chief in the wake of the Jinnah controversy, said "efforts should be made" to improve ties with the neighbouring country.

However, he did not make any reference to his Pakistan visit.

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 03:17 IST