High level meeting precedes Zardari's 'private' visit to India

Published: April 8, 2012

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, along with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (not in picture), Interior Minister Rehman Malik (not in picture) attend a high level meeting in Governor House, Lahore. PHOTO: PID

LAHORE: Ahead of President Asif Ali Zardari’s private visit to India on Sunday, he held a detailed meeting with the Prime Minister, army chief, foreign and interior ministers at the Governor House in Lahore on Saturday, Express News reported on Saturday.

Issues pertaining to national security are believed to have been discussed in the meeting. Given the proximity of the meeting with the President’s India trip, it may have served to update Zardari if any discussions with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh veer towards official policy matters on Sunday.

This will be the first trip to India for a Pakistani head of state since 2005.

Spokesperson to the President, Senator Farhatullah Babar said that earlier the President had also held separate meetings with the Prime Minister and the Army Chief and discussed the ongoing search and rescue operation to save the lives of army and civil contractors trapped under the snow in Gayari sector near Siachen Glacier.

Earlier, Zardari had announced he would be undertaking a private trip to India, to visit Ajmer Sharif. He reportedly asked sanction for 12 ‘family members’ to accompany him on his visit.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had both clarified on the floor of the Parliament on Thursday that the President’s visit was private in nature and did not carry an official agenda. His scheduled lunch meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was part of traditional courtesy, and the two leaders were not expected to discuss official matters.

Reader Comments (6)

  • Apr 8, 2012 - 1:06AM

    looks like army wants something to be done

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  • truth will free you
    Apr 8, 2012 - 1:56AM

    So the president has been told what to discuss and what to say by the army even on such a short private visit.Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Apr 8, 2012 - 1:58AM

    Nothing has been done in any official meeting since Pakistan and India has developed diplomatic relations with many interruptions.

    Now it is time to discuss some thing unofficial and then at a latter stage it can be made official.

    The old hawks will be waiting for Mr. Zardari’s return to Pakistan and then to hold a press conference to brief the media about his engagements and trip to Ajmer Sharif.

    The President is taking a 12 members entourage to India and it is not possible that no body either from Pakistan or India will not talk to each other.

    There will be private talks which the President on his return will make public.

    Please wait for a short-break.

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  • Mubashir Inayet
    Apr 8, 2012 - 2:00AM

    Look at the state of luxury inside the Presidents House!!

    Does not suit a country like ours going around with a begging bowl every six months for loads and aid.

    Practicing what we preach must be started from the top.

    Who cares for luxury enjoyed and shown on borrowed money?

    We need to mature as a nation.

    BTW: If it is a private visit to India, we hope Zardari is paying for it as he can easily afford it.

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  • Blithe
    Apr 8, 2012 - 7:02AM

    Is this really a private trip???
    Something fishy is going on.

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  • Baby ka Husband
    Apr 8, 2012 - 7:08AM

    ET states that on the floor of the house PM and FM stated that no policy issues are to be discussed with PM Singh in this Private Visit. Yet policy makers have been flown to Lahore for a meeting with the Prez. What for??? Its this kind of foreign policy deception that makes us look towards Indian or a Western news source, never from a Pakistani source. We will get denials and misleading statements. Just like Cameron Munter told us that Pakistan air corridor to Afghanistan was open and in use for NATO supplies, only to learn that our Government had lied to us. Its sickening. I must ask Baby??

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