India cricket visit in national interest: PM Gilani

Published: March 28, 2011
Gilani accepted an invitation from his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to attend the match.  PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Gilani accepted an invitation from his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to attend the match. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Monday that his visit to India to watch the World Cup cricket semi-final between the two arch-rivals was in “national interest”.

Gilani accepted an invitation from his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to attend the match after a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday.

“I have decided to avail of this opportunity in national interest,” an official statement quoted Gilani as telling a meeting of the federal cabinet in Islamabad.

“It is also a timely opportunity for the two governments to show to the world that the two nations can play together as well as sit and deliberate together on issues of national importance,” he said.

A knock-out World Cup match on Indian soil is the biggest fixture between the rivals for decades and excitement is already at fever-pitch.

Wednesday’s match in Mohali, being described as a “clash of titans,” will also showcase one of the world’s most intense sporting rivalries, fuelled by nationalism and a shared history.

Relations are still tense following the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead and stalled a fragile four-year peace process between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals.

Top officials from India and Pakistan are holding talks in Delhi from March 28 focusing on counter-terrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian issues.

The two countries announced the resumption of peace talks last month after a meeting between Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Amer
    Mar 28, 2011 - 7:58PM

    He is not doing anything sitting in Pakistan anyways…. LOLRecommend

  • czed bishon
    Mar 28, 2011 - 8:28PM

    I agree with PM..Recommend

  • Amir
    Mar 28, 2011 - 10:23PM

    all people are opportunists.

    cricket has removed public attention from corruption,raymond davis and lota brigade in punjabRecommend

  • Nosherwan Shahid Shaikh
    Mar 28, 2011 - 10:43PM

    I hope he can come back safe, if pakistan wins. Recommend

  • Raj
    Mar 29, 2011 - 12:14AM

    So where does national interest come into a game of cricket ? Also what national interest is the PM of Pakistan refering to, Has he any upcoming plans to take action against long list of Indian demands???
    Sadly folks the answer to the above is no!!!
    It seems their PM enjoys to travel more often than the time he actually spends in his office in Islamabad!!!! Recommend

  • LOL
    Mar 29, 2011 - 1:48AM

    @ Nosherwan – he will be perfectly safe. India is not going to allow anything bad to happen to Gilani other than some personal disappointment if India is the winner of the match.Recommend

  • Arindom
    Mar 29, 2011 - 5:16AM

    Nothing will come out of all this brouhaha…

    Invite entire GHQ and strike a “deal” with them for anything to happen….Recommend

  • cosmo
    Mar 29, 2011 - 6:52AM

    @Nosherwan Shahid Shaikh:
    well the irony is that you want to come BACK safe !! safe to where? To the Safe Pakistan?Recommend

  • akash
    Mar 29, 2011 - 7:59AM

    so will you provide the voice samples Mr prime miniter ?? Recommend

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