Agra invite to Musharraf was on Qazi suggestion: Advani

New Delhi, Jan 13: Former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani tonight disclosed that it was on the suggestion of then Pakistan ambassador to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi that he urged then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to invite President Gen Pervez Musharraf to the failed Agra Summit.

New Delhi, Jan 13: Former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani tonight disclosed that it was on the suggestion of then Pakistan ambassador to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi that he
urged then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to invite President Gen Pervez Musharraf to the failed Agra Summit.

Speaking after releasing 'Sunday Sentiments', a
collection of Karan Thapar's collection of articles written in
the Hindustan Times, the Leader of the Opposition said most of
the talks he had with Qazi was through the noted journalist
and television anchor.

"Immediately after Kargil, there was a change of regime
in Pakistan and the elected prime minister was replaced by Gen
Musharraf but Ashraf said that if one effort (Vajpayee's
famous Lahore bus trip) did not succeed, it does not mean,
another attempt would not succeed and that he should be
invited.

"I ventured to make the suggestion to the prime minister
which he accepted though it was not endorsed by all others in
the Foreign Ministry and one of them had said it", he said.

Advani, who was widely perceived to be responsible for
the failure of the summit, said it was Pakistan's stand on not
recognising terrorism and referring to the violence in the
valley as freedom struggle, which led to its collapse.

The BJP leader, who had to step down as party chief in
the wake of the Jinnah controversy, said "efforts should be
made" to improve ties with the neighbouring country.

However, he did not make any reference to his Pakistan
visit.

Bureau Report

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