Pak welcomes PM's invitation, decision on it to come later

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Manmohan Singh and Asif Ali Zardari
Islamabad, Mar 26: It seems that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's cricket diplomacy is doing the trick that everything else failed to do. It is reported that the Pakistan Government has welcomed Singh's invitation for the ICC Cricket World Cup Semi-final in Mohali on Mar 30.

According to a report published on the Hindustan Times, Farhatullah Babar, Pakistan's Presidential spokesperson said, "We welcome the invitation," and added that any decision on the matter will be done on Mar 26 after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani returns to the country.

Gilani is on a tour to Tashkent and the report also cites official sources as saying that the invitation would also be discussed by the Foreign Office.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh shot off identical letters on Mar 25 to the President and PM of Pakistan inviting them to attend the semi-final match of the cricket World Cup between the two countries on Mar 30 at Mohali.

In the letter of invitation to Zardari, the PM said, "There is huge excitement over the match and we are all looking forward to a great game of cricket that will be a victory for sport. It gives me great pleasure to invite you to visit Mohali and join me and the millions of fans from our two countries to watch the match."

Coincidentally the match comes a day after the home-secretary level talks of the two countries on Mar 28 and Mar 29.

If the Pakistani leadership do accept the invitation and come for the match then it will be the third such instance with the other two being President Zia ul-Haq who came in 1987 for the second day of the India Vs Pakistan Test match and President Pervez Musharraf who also came in 2005.

Lets see if cricket eases the tension and becomes the harbinger of peace between the two nations.

OneIndia News

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