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Dinner hosted in honour of Nitish Kumar, PPP top leaders present Last Updated : 13 Nov 2012 07:53:12 AM IST File photo: Nitish Kumar in Pakistan
Several top leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government, including Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Shah, attended a dinner held in honour of visiting Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his delegation in the federal capital on Monday.
The dinner, hosted by Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gopal Bagley at a hotel in Islamabad, was devoid of speeches and formalities and afforded Kumar and his delegation an opportunity to interact with government leaders and senior lawmakers from various political parties.
Besides Shah, the event was attended by Faisal Karim Kundi, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament, former federal minister Asim Hussain, a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari, lawmakers of the PPP, PML-N, PML-Q, Awami National Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement and senior journalists.
Kumar and his delegation arrived in Islamabad after a whirlwind tour of the southern province of Sindh.
Kumar completed his tour of the Sindh province by attending a reception hosted by Governor Ishrat-ul-Ebad.
In his brief address at the reception, Kumar said he had come in close contact with Pakistani people during his tour and learnt a lot about the country.
"I am going to Islamabad with a stronger belief that Pakistan and India must work together for peace and prosperity in South Asia region as we share lot of common values and aims," Kumar said.
Kumar said he was happy to see that Indo-Pak ties were warming up at the provincial and parliamentary levels and said there was need for more exchanges of provincial heads.
"It is a positive development and we can learn from each other's experience of good governance," he said.
Since he arrived in Karachi on Friday evening, Kumar has interacted with Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and his colleagues, toured the historic site of Mohenjodaro, visited an ancient Hindu temple and addressed a Hindu panchayat.
The Chief Minister, who was feted by the PPP-led government in Sindh, used most of his public interactions to highlight the growth of Bihar and his efforts to control crime in what was one of the most lawless states in India.
Kumar, who belongs to Janata Dal (United) party, also shared his government's efforts to promote girls education by providing them free syllabus, uniforms and even bicycles.
He has also spoken of the need for India and Pakistan to co-exist peacefully and work for good governance.
While addressing the Hindu panchayat in the heart of Sindh on Sunday, Kumar said: "I have brought a message of peace, love and brotherhood from India."
Frequent exchange of delegations would further improve relationship between the two countries, he said.
Kumar and his delegation visited the historical Sadho Belo temple near Sukkur, the Indus valley civilization ruins of Mohenjodaro and the Bhutto family's mausoleum at Garhi Khuda Baksh near Larkana.
He was overwhelmed while visiting the Mohanjodaro site that dates back 5000 years and said it reinforced his belief that India and Pakistan need to work closely together as they share many common values.
Kumar will address a gathering at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad tomorrow before holding separate meetings with Federal Minister Farzana Raja, who heads the government's flagship poverty alleviation programme, and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan.
In the evening, Kumar and his delegation will call on President Asif Ali Zardari.
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