Badal welcomes Burney's visit as 'historic'

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Badal, Muktsar, Apr 3 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today described the visit of former Federal Minister of Pakistan and Human Rights activist Ansar Burney as 'historic', which would pave the way for further improving one-to-one relations between the people of India and Pakistan.

While extending warm welcome to Mr Burney, who was accompanied by his wife Shaeen and son Fahid to meet the CM at his native village here, Mr Badal said the people of Punjab would be ''ever-indebted to Mr Burney for his pivotal role in securing the release of Kashmir Singh who was languishing in Pakistan jail for over past 35 years''.

He also urged Mr Burney to impress upon the Pakistian government to show the same magnanimity and release Indian national Sarabjit Singh who was on death row in Pakistan.

Hailing Mr Burney as ''a real champion of the human rights,'' Mr Badal expressed hope that such goodwill measures would ultimately bring the people of these two countries close to spread the message of universal brotherhood and communal harmony.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Burney in an emotionally-choked tone said, ''I am deeply moved by the love and affection shown by the people of Punjab during my visit right from the moment when I crossed the Attari-Wagah border.'' Mr Burney assured the Chief Minister that he would soon again take up the matter of the release of Sarabjit Singh and other Indian prisoners with the newly formed Ministry of Pakistan.

He also requested Mr Badal to reciprocate the gesture by taking up the issue of the release of Pakistani prisoners in India with the Ministry of External Affairs.

Mr Burney reiterated his firm belief that the ongoing people-to -people contact between India and Pakistan would soon remove the artificial barriers in the near future as ''the language of love and amity did not recognise such obstacles in the journey of friendship''.

He said he always bowed his head in reverence to Sri Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism because the religion is based on the ideology of human rights.

The Chief Minister along with Information and Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia honoured Mr Burney, his wife and son with a memento on the occasion.

UNI XC JN SG KP1911

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