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Leveling of Indo-Pak Ties- When Dr. Singh Met Zardari [Part 1]

Posted on April 16, 2012 in Politics

By Anannya Roy Chowdhury:

The month of April, as it came amidst a worldwide mire of negative happenings, brought with itself, if not an immediate upshot but a lingering ray of hope for two of the World’s biggest nuclear nations! Long after 2005, the Indian visit by Pakistani President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari was hailed by both the nations. What followed this personal visit was highly anticipated and in the wake of the current political turmoil both in the domestic front as well as from the point of view of international ties was certainly “highly constructive”!

Who stepped out of the Pakistani Armed forces plane on Sunday, 8th April?

The Pakistani convoy was a full 40 membered delegate comprising of the first elected President, Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (the Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party and the son of Zardari and the Late Mohotarma Benazir Bhutto), Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik and other family members and the who’s-who of the Pakistani state. The visit by the Zardari ‘father-son’ duo was taken in a hypercritical manner in both the nations owning to the fact that the Pakistani head of the state and back in home, Dr. Singh were subjected to conflicts and held rather scornfully.

A brief overview of the glittering entry, stay in the country and the equally splendid passage:

The President with his son and other eminent members of the Pakistani political scene arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport a little past noon.

As per the schedule, this was followed by a full 40 minutes talk between both the Nation Heads (Singh and Zardari) at the PM’s plush bungalow at 7 Race Course Road, New Delhi. The lunch that followed was exquisite enough to hit the media buzz-buzz. Comprising of a delectable array of appetizers, main courses and desert, yet again India stood by its time tested saying, “the gateway to a man’s heart is through his stomach!”
Soon after the meeting that was guided by a forward looking approach, as quoted by the Foreign Secretary of the Indian state, Mr. Rajan Mathai, the Pakistani delegate took their leave for the next and the main highlight of their India entourage, the visit to the Sufi Pilgrimage at Ajmer!

Driving their way to the Dargah of the Sufi Saint, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisty at 4:50 P.M, Bilawal and Zardari took to the sanctum sanctorum of the Mausoleum amidst a mixed blaze of high security alerts and the beating of the traditional drums, Nagadas by the Khadims!

Their 25 minute stay inside the dargah was spent in doing the ritualistic prayer, ziyarat followed by a donation by Zardari, which took the world by surprise (not failing to stir both cheerful appraisals as well as negative ‘tweets’ from folks back home). As a sign of homage towards the holy shrine, in this visit that was the second by Zardari (the first being in 2005 with late wife Benazir) he donated a whooping amount of $1 million (5 crores) for the upkeep of the pilgrim, as told by the Khadim President, Hasimuddin Niazi.

The last part of their trip went as smoothly as the others when at around 5:15 P.M they left for Islamabad but not before having laid the foundations for a lot of positive and friendly conciliations between the two nations!

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