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Kasuri to meet Pranab privately

The Pak leader is here for his friend Mani Shankar Aiyar's daughter's wedding, reports Vinod Sharma.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2006 21:23 IST

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri is looking only for a chance meeting with Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee during a private visit to New Delhi later this month.

The Pakistani leader is expected here for the wedding reception of Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar whom he has known since their college days at Cambridge.

"It is a private visit. I have not even asked for time with your Foreign Minister. I will meet him if he is there at the reception,” Kasuri told HT on phone from Islamabad on Thursday.

He said he was keen not to publicise his visit. “But the information somehow leaked to the media and when asked by press, I couldn’t say no to the fact that I would be with my friend at his daughter’s wedding,” he remarked.

But Mukherjee is not known for attending wedding receptions. For this reason, sources termed as "remote" the possibility of a chance encounter between them, unless, of course Kasuri changes his mind and makes a request for a meeting.

The Pak Minister will be under the media glare during his stay in Delhi. The signal would not be right if he returns home without a meeting with Mukherjee, whom he sent a congratulatory message last Friday on his assumption of office.

Confirming Kasuri’s travel plans in the last week of this month, source in the Pak High Commission indicated by way of abundant precaution that the "picture would be clearer" after the November 13-14 meeting of Foreign Secretaries --there being “no direct linkage” between the FS-level talks and the Minister’s private visit.

Be that as it may, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar might get to see Mukherjee at the Second Regional Cooperation Conference he will preside in New Delhi on November 18-19 on Afghanistan’s reconstruction.

Hina is the niece of former West Punjab Governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar, made famous by ex-wife Tehmina Durrani’s best-selling autobiography, My Feudal Lord.
In fact, a lot is happening on the India-Pakistan front, both bilaterally and at multi-lateral gatherings. While a Pak delegation returned home on Thursday after technical-talks on rail-links between the two countries, Pakistan’s Environment Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat arrived here to attend the 18th meeting of the Group on Montreal Protocol on Ozone depleting substances.

First Published: Nov 02, 2006 21:23 IST