Monday, May 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Vajpayee’s reply delivered

Islamabad, May 4
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s reply to his Pakistani counterpart Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali’s formal invitation to visit Pakistan has been delivered and a response from Pakistan is expected shortly. The acting Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Mr T.C.A. Raghavan, said here today that he had delivered Mr Vajpayee’s reply to Mr Jamali’s invitation to the Foreign Office late last night.

In a cautious and calibrated reply to Mr Jamali’s invitation, Mr Vajpayee had written back within hours of receiving the invite that careful preparation on the ground was necessary for meaningful engagement at the highest level. Officials said Pakistan’s response to the reply was expected shortly.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani Prime Minister has summoned ruling and opposition parties to devise a joint strategy for a possible dialogue with India.

Addressing a rally in the north-west city of Mansehra today, he said: “I have invited opposition and allies parties to meet tomorrow and devise a unified stand on talks with India.”

However, he stopped short of saying whether Pakistan would resume full diplomatic ties and air link with India, in reciprocation to moves announced by Mr Vajpayee on Friday.

“For the past five or six days, new developments have started with India,” Mr Jamali told the rally, held in honour of Fatima Jinnah, the revered late sister of Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah. PTI

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