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Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to Visit India (Officials Report)

Posted by on Monday, April 2, 2012, 10:41
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Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari is to visit India soon, officials said Sunday, as the two nuclear-armed rivals seek to improve their relationship. Zardari will travel in a private capacity to visit the shrine of a Sufi Muslim saint — the first trip to India by a Pakistani head of state since 2005.

Asif Ali Zardari to Visit India
Asif Ali Zardari to Visit India

“The foreign ministries of the two countries have been in touch with each other to finalise details for the president’s visit, which will be private, and he will travel to India soon,” presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar told AFP.

Dates for the visit have not been finalised, the spokesman said, but will be announced soon.

Another senior government official also confirmed Zardari’s trip.

“It will be his private visit during which he will go to Ajmer Sharif” shrine to pay his respects, the official said.

Officials were not sure whether Zardari would use the opportunity to hold talks with India’s political leaders.

India and Pakistan have had a fraught relationship since independence from British rule in 1947, fighting three wars and carrying out tit-for-tat nuclear detonations in 1998.

New Delhi froze peace talks with Islamabad following terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008 that left 166 people dead and which India blames on Pakistan-based militants.

But the slow-moving peace dialogue resumed early last year with visits by officials.

In March last year, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh watched their countries’ teams play in the cricket World Cup semi-final in India.

Pakistan said in February it would phase out major restrictions on Indian imports by the end of the year in an effort to normalise trade relations.

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