Party-to-party contacts: Laloo Parsad invites Shujaat to visit India
NEW DELHI: Taking political party-to-party contacts forward between India and Pakistan, former Bihar chief minister and RJD President Laloo Prasad Yadev has extended a formal invitation to Pakistan Muslim League President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain to visit India.
The concept of party-to-party contact was first introduced by Mr Hussain to promote ties between the two countries on political front and had written letters to the heads of eight leading Indian political parties, Pakistani parliamentarians’ delegation leader Tariq Azeem Khan said during an exclusive talk here on Wednesday on the last leg of his week-long visit to India.
Amid hectic engagements, the delegation during their stay held meetings with National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, Opposition Leader Sonia Gandhi, RJD President Laloo Prasad Yadev, Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, former prime minister IK Gujral and Kashmir Committee of India Chairman Ram Jethmalani.
Mr Yadev told the parliamentarians that he would continue to visit Pakistan till brotherly ties between the two countries were fully restored. Mr Khan invited him to again visit Pakistan along with his wife, Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi.
During the meeting with the national security adviser at the prime minister’s office, which lasted over 90 minutes, the parliamentary delegation had an interaction and exchange of views on various matters, including the Kashmir issue, the resumption of air links and rail services, sporting ties and restoration of diplomatic strength.
During a meeting with the Kashmir Committee headed by Ram Jethmalani with the parliamentarians, it was suggested that the committee should also be constituted in Pakistan, comprising people from different walks of life so that both committees could have interaction on the issue. The six-member delegation was here to attend the two-day Regional Conference on Technology for Poverty Reduction organised by the British Council. Pakistan is the co-host of the conference.
The opening session began with a note of criticism and controversy, as the Pakistani co-organisers of the event were not issued visas by India. Mr Marsden, the head of the British Council in India, Dr DK Giri, the head of India Development Group, and Dr Vishak, all regretted that Pakistani co-hosts could not travel owing to “logistical problems”.
Describing the development as sad and ironic, Mr Khan said invitees were here but the Pak co-hosts were missing. The delegation led by Mr Khan included Members of the National Assembly Fauzia Wahab, Memuna Hashmi, Chaudhry Manzoor, Qamaruz Zaman Khaire and Zulfiqar Gondal. The delegation will cross over to Pakistan tomorrow (October 16) via the Wagah border. —APP