Nitish visits religious and cultural sites during Pak tour

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took time out of his busy schedule to visit sites of historic, educational, religious and cultural significance during his maiden visit to Pakistan.

Lahore: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took time out of his busy schedule to visit sites of historic, educational, religious and cultural significance during his maiden visit to Pakistan.

Kumar, on his week-long tour of cities like Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore, visited many such sites where he highlighted that India and Pakistan share many common values and need to work together for good governance in the region.

Kumar and his high-level delegation visited the historical Sadho Belo temple near Sukkur, the Indus valley civilisation ruins of Mohenjodaro near Larkana and Garhi Khuda Baksh which is the ancestral home of the Bhutto family in Larkana.

Kumar, 61, during his stay, also visited the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah to pay homage to the founder of Pakistan.

He visited the ancient city of Taxila, terming it an "emotive" and "overpowering" experience, and the centuries-old Katasraj temples that have recently been restored in Pakistan`s Punjab province.

Kumar toured the Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore, where he wrote in the visitor`s book, "I feel greatly elevated and humbled to visit this sacred shrine of Sat Gur Arjun Dev ji, who was martyred here almost five centuries ago. I am overwhelmed to know that people across religious believes in both our countries continue to draw inspiration from this great shrine."

The Bihar Chief Minister visited the prestigious Government College in Lahore yesterday.

"The modern history of the sub-continent will remain incomplete without a mention of this oldest seat of learning (Government College)," Kumar wrote in the visitor`s book at the College.

"The reputation of the Institution is reflected in the illustrious list of alumni which to my pleasure includes names like former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, Nobel Laureate Dr Har Gobind Khorana, novelist Khushwant Singh and people like Dev Anand and Balraj Sahni among others," he wrote.

"A visit to this historic institution is no less than a pilgrimage for me," he added.

Kumar, while visiting the Data Darbar in Lahore, said that it was a one of the oldest shrines in the sub-continent, which is held in high reverence as a place of contemplation and meditation.

"Data Durbar for me is a monument of peace and harmony which has guided and will continue to guide and enlighten the people of both countries," Kumar wrote in the visitor`s book there.

Kumar also paid homage to Maharaja Ranjit Singh at his Samadhi in Lahore.

"Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji was the last emperor of Punjab who has been likened to Napoleon and has a following which can be rivalled by none among his contemporaries. Humanity and tenderness for life was a trait in the character of Ranjit Singh, whose empire was built on the edifice of secularism and none of the subjects were discriminated against on account of their religions," Kumar wrote in the visitor`s book at the Samadhi.

"Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji`s model of secular and welfare state continues to be relevant even in the present times and I feel greatly inspired to visit the Samadhi," he added.

Yesterday, PML-N chief and former premier Nawaz Sharif hosted a dinner for Kumar and members of his delegation at his Raiwind residence.

Sharif praised Kumar for introducing institutional reforms in Bihar, making efforts to ensure supremacy of law, providing infrastructure and enhancing economic growth.

He called for the resolution of all disputes between India and Pakistan so that a positive atmosphere could be created for people across the borders.

"Exchange of delegations and increasing trade relations between Pakistan and India are necessary for the progress and stability of the region," Sharif said.

He said there were bright prospects for the development and progress of both the countries and the destiny of the people could be changed through the peaceful resolution of disputes.