Pakistan foreign minister prays at Ajmer shrine


Jaipur: Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar offered a ‘chaddar’ at the revered Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Rajasthan’s Ajmer town Thursday and prayed for peace in the sub-continent, a priest said.

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She arrived at the shrine as part of a 14-member group from Pakistan around 3.30 p.m. and remained inside the premises for over half an hour.

“She offered a ‘chaddar’ and prayed for better relations between India and Pakistan and peace in both the countries,” a shrine khadim (priest) told IANS.

“She also offered flowers in the dargah,” the khadim said.

The shrine, dedicated to the Sufi saint who came to Ajmer from Persia in 1192, attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year.

When she came out, media persons tried to speak to her but police did not allow this for security reasons. Khar then left for Jaipur to fly back to Pakistan.

Rabbani earlier arrived at the Jaipur International Airport from Delhi around 12.30 p.m. and after a brief halt due to bad weather proceeded to Ajmer.

She was waiting at the VVIP lounge of the airport when it started raining.

“She was to leave for Ajmer by a chopper immediately after arrival, but due to rain, the air traffic control did not give the clearance. So the authorities decided not to take a chance,” an airport official told IANS.

Sources said that she stayed in the VVIP lounge and had breakfast. She also discussed with authorities the possibility of going for sightseeing in Jaipur.

However, as the weather improved, she proceeded to Ajmer.

Earlier, Khar, who is in India on her maiden visit as Pakistan foreign minister, had expressed her desire to offer prayers at the Jama Masjid in New Delhi, but this did not work out due to security reasons.

The 34-year-old Khar, Pakistan’s youngest and first female foreign minister, had visited India twice before she was appointed the foreign minister over a week ago.

Khar held wide-ranging talks with India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Wednesday. Krishna invited her to visit south India, specially Bangalore, India’s IT hub.

Before leaving for Jaipur, Khar visited the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya in New Delhi