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Pak opposition leaders meet Vajpayee

Leaders of Pakistan's opposition parties met Vajpayee on the sidelines of the SAARC summit and praised his peace initiatives to normalise Indo-Pak relations.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2004 13:41 IST
KJM Varma (PTI)
KJM Varma (PTI)

Leaders of Pakistan's opposition parties and main Islamist alliance met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Islambad and praised his peace initiatives to normalise relations between India and Pakistan.

A delegation of Pakistan Peoples Party leaders led by Vice Chairman Makhdoom Fahim met Vajpayee at a reception hosted by the Indian High Commissioner for the Prime Minister on Sunday night.

Handing over flowers sent by party leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to Vajpayee, Fahim said the PPP appreciated the Indian leader for his initiative to bring peace to the region.

The initiative and political standing of Vajpayee offered a hope for peace in the region, he said.

At the reception, member of the National Assembly Ramesh Lal presented a memorandum to Vajpayee asking him to offer more visa facilities for Pakistani Hindus to visit India.

A Muttahida Majlis Amal delegation led by Jamat Ulema Islami-F (JUIF)) leader Fazlur Rehman held a 10-minute long meeting with Vajpayee and felicitated him for his peace initiative to reduce tension between the two countries.

During the meeting, Rehman "praised the confidence-building measures announced by India and Pakistan to normalise the situation between the two countries," JUI-F sources said.

The JUI(F) leader welcomed Vajpayee's participation in the summit and urged for talks to resolve contentious issues, including Kashmir.

Vajpayee briefed the delegation about the ongoing initiative between both the countries to normalise ties, MMA leader Khurshid Ahmad told reporters after the meeting.

Significantly, the delegation included senior leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), which held a demonstration in Lahore during Vajpayee's visit to Lahore in 1998.

JI has close ideological and organisational links with terrorist groups like Hizbul Mujahideen.

The MMA delegation, which called on Vajpayee, included senior Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, Senator Prof Khurshid Ahmad and Prof Ghafoor Ahmad.

First Published: Jan 05, 2004 10:39 IST