Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rejects President Zardari’s invitation
Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh declined to visit Pakistan on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti on November 28, citing it not the right time to embark on it, says Indian media. In his view, he wanted to visit Pakistan but this was not the right time to embark on it.
According to Indian media reports, the Indian premier, in a letter written to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, recalled how he had always told Pakistani leaders that he wanted to visit the country. Offering thanks to President Zardari for his invitation, he said it was not conducive for him to visit Pakistan at the time mentioned by the president in his invite.
Keeping hopes still alive for the much awaited trip, though, Singh said in his letter that he still wanted to visit Pakistan and carry forward ties between the two nations. He also said the two sides will continue to look for the right opportunity for his visit to Pakistan.
Considering the narrow window, as an official put it, ahead of elections in Pakistan, it is now clear that the visit will not take place even early next year.
According to the reports, the Indian premier didn’t attach any pre-condition for his visit to Pakistan. There was no mention of the Mumbai attacks or the delay, as alleged by India, in bringing the guilty to justice through the ongoing trial in Pakistan. They said it also had nothing to do with the hanging of Kasab.
There had been wild speculation in the media for months about whether or not Singh will visit Pakistan anytime soon. The Indian foreign ministry sought to scotch this when its officials suggested on November 16 that it may not be possible for Singh to visit Pakistan anytime soon but did not mention Singh's response to Zardari.
Zardari had renewed Pakistan's invitation to the PM when he met Singh here in April en route to Ajmer. A few months later, he again wrote to Singh inviting him to visit Pakistan. He mentioned Guru Nanak Jayanti on November 28, saying it would be the right occasion for Singh to also visit his birthplace Gah in Chakwal, 100 km from Islamabad.