Pakistani diplomat visits Golden temple in Amritsar, meets CMs

New Delhi: Sohail Mahmood, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India  paid obeisance to the Golden Temple, Sikhdom’s holiest shrine on Wednesday, says a press release.

According to a statement issued by the Pakistan High Commission on Friday, Mr Mahmood also met the chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab during visits to the states and underscored the importance of people-to-people contact and the unity of Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), of which India is the largest member.

Mr Mahmood paid an official visit to Haryana and Punjab from April 23 to 25, and had broad-ranging interaction with state dignitaries, academics, businessmen and representatives of the media. While in Chandigarh, the high commissioner called on Haryana’s Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Separately, Mr Mahmood called on the chief minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, and had an extended exchange of views during the luncheon hosted by the latter at the chief minister’s official residence.

Mr Mahmood later visited the Punjab University in Chandigarh for interaction with Vice Chancellor Dr Arun K. Grover and other members of the faculty. A group of students also participated in the discussions. He also visited the office of the daily newspaper The Tribune, headquartered in Chandigarh. The newspaper, it may be recalled, was first established in Lahore more than 130 years ago.

During these interactions, views were exchanged on myriad aspects of Pakistan-India relations. Among other things, the need for reducing bilateral tensions including on the Line of Control, implementing confidence-building measures, reviving the structured dialogue process, peacefully resolving outstanding disputes and taking steps to promote socio-economic development at the regional level through the vehicle of Saarc was underscored.

Besides, the role of people-to-people contacts — in particular media, academia, sports and the youth — in changing perceptions and creating conducive environment for sustainable peace and stability was highlighted, the statement said.

The envoy underlined the importance of early repatriation of Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences.

In Amritsar, Mr Mahmood had interaction with members of the Confederation of Indian Industries and businessmen associated with Pakistan-India trade.

In these discussions, among other things, the role of visa facilitation for Pakistani businessmen and the need for revival of relevant business and governmental mechanisms for addressing trade-related problems and issues was emphasised.

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