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Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif offers prayers at historic Jama Masjid

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 - 9:55am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

  • nawaz-sharif-delhi-modi-inauguration Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves on his arrival at New Delhi airport on Monday, May 26, 2014, for the oath taking ceremony of Narendra Modi as India's 15th prime minister. AFP

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offered prayers at the historic Jama Masjid in Delhi on Tuesday and also visited the Red Fort in Old Delhi area.

Sharif, who arrived in Delhi on Monday to attend the swearing in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, visited Jama Masjid, one of Asia's largest mosques, and Mughal era monument the Red Fort along with other members of his delegation.

The Pakistan prime minister will later hold bilateral talks with Modi during which both sides are expected to discuss ways to enhance bilateral cooperation, before leaving for Pakistan.

Sharif had said on Monday he intends to pick up the threads with India's new leader Modi from where he and then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee left off in 1999. The Pakistan prime minister had said that both governments have a strong mandate and this could help in "turning a new page in our relations".

Sharif's visit is seen as significant by political observers here given that hardline elements in Pakistan have expressed their unhappiness over his responding to the invitation positively. 

Sources said it is expected that the Pakistan leader will also extend a formal invitation to Modi for a visit. No breakthrough is expected during the visit but it will provide the two leaders an opportunity to cultivate personal relations which may go a long a way in reducing tensions. "The way the Indian Prime Minister invited him and he (Sharif) accepted it and from the discussion I had with him I can say that he has come here in good spirits," Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, told reporters after Sharif's visit to the mosque. "He wants that relations between the two countries should improve and the bitterness and differences are reduced. He said both India and Pakistan should move toward peace and happiness," he said.

"I have come here with a message of peace," Bukhari quoted Sharif as saying. The Pakistan Prime Minister told Bukhari that although there was no specific agenda for the talks between him and his Indian counterpart, he wants that relations between the two countries to improve as soon as possible. "Sharif said that although there was no agenda on which he will hold talks with Modi today, but whenever I get invitation, whether I come or the Indian Prime Minister visits Pakistan, we would want relations to improve as soon as possible," said Bukhari.

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