‘Time to tell the world we can play together, talk together’

The World Cup semi-final between the cricket teams of the two neighbouring countries is a timely opportunity, Pakistan PM Yousuf Raza Gilani said.

Last Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 23:39 PM IST

Islamabad: The World Cup semi-final between the cricket teams of India and Pakistan is a timely opportunity for the two countries to show the world that they can play together as well as deliberate together on key issues, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Monday.

Gilani made the remarks while chairing a meeting of his
Cabinet, a day after accepting his Indian counterpart Manmohan
Singh`s invitation to watch the match at Mohali on Wednesday.

The decision to accept the invitation was made at a
meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Gilani

Thanking Singh for inviting him to the semi-final, Gilani
said, "It is also a timely opportunity for the two governments
to show the world that the two nations can play together as
well as sit and deliberate together on issues of national

According to an official statement, Gilani responded to
the invitation by saying: "I have decided to avail of this
opportunity in the national interest."

The two Prime Ministers will meet two days after a
meeting between the Home and Interior Secretaries of India and
Pakistan that marked the resumption of the bilateral peace
process, which was stalled in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai
terror attacks.

Official sources said Gilani briefed the Cabinet on his
upcoming visit to India.

The Cabinet was initially scheduled to meet on Wednesday
but the meeting was brought forward so that the Prime Minister
could brief his colleagues about the invitation extended to
him by the Indian government.

The Pakistan government is completing the arrangements
for Gilani`s visit, including the delegation that will
accompany the Premier to Mohali.

Ahead of the visit, President Zardari yesterday remitted
the remaining jail term of Indian prisoner Gopal Das, who has
been imprisoned in Pakistan for 27 years.

The remission was granted on Gilani`s advice.