July 16, 2001,
Taj grandeur stuns General
Agra, July 15
Confronted by mediapersons when he visited the white marble structure of immortal love, the Taj Mahal, General Musharraf gestured with his hands that the talks were continuing.
Asked if he was extending his stay by a day, General Musharraf was non-committal except to give the impression that the summit was continuing.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is here to oversee the arrangements for the media and take part in the programmes of various TV networks connected with the Vajpayee-Musharraf summit, told mediapersons this afternoon that “certain issues have been sorted out.”
She stressed this was indicative of the fact that both the Prime Minister and the Pakistan President had an extended sitting without aides or delegations in the morning. “There is definitely a carry forward on the directions of the two leaders as evidenced by the delegation-level talks.”
General Musharraf and his wife Sehba took time out to savour the Taj Mahal in the afternoon. Stunned by the grandeur of the white marble monument, the Pakistan President and Begum Sehba said it was “fabulous, magnificent.” In a lighter vain, General Musharraf asked the battery of cameramen if he should strike a romantic pose with his Begum.
This was the only interlude that General Musharraf had from his hectic summit engagements while Begum Sehba did manage to visit Fatehpur Sikri. She was astonished by the beauty of Fatehpur Sikri and other ancient sites that she went round. She observed that she was really surprised that ancient architects and sculptors had such intricate skills. She observed that these places were a symbol of history and provided a better recognitionto the subcontinent.
Asked about the progress of the Vajpayee-Musharraf summit, she added “Inshallah, we will return again.”
“Show me the masterpiece.” The specially done up Kohinoor suite in the Amar Vilas hotel had caught the imagination of General Musharraf. From the window of the Kohinoor suite, the Taj Mahal can be seen in all its magnificence.
He expressed the fond wish of staying longer and remarked that it must be a very short walk to the Taj Mahal.
The visiting dignitary and his wife have three butlers in attendance. Begum Sehba was specially served a light but traditional Indian course which was fresh and authentic.
She liked the food and specially asked the recipes of three of the dishes — mulligatawny soup, nalli gosht and murg ke parchey.
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