ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday formally invited Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan saying it would provide an opportunity to the leaderships to take stock of bilateral relations.

Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said the invitation had been extended by a letter sent on Friday to the Indian Prime Minister through the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

The president in his letter also suggested to the Indian Prime Minister to visit his ancestral hometown on the occasion of birthday celebration of Baba Guru Nanak Sahib.

This, the letter said, would not only be well received by the Pakistani nation but also reinforce mutual desire to promote inter-faith and inter-religious harmony.

The president recalled his meeting with the Indian Prime Minister in New Delhi during his visit to Ajmer Sharif in April this year and expressed satisfaction over the forward movement of dialogue process and the taking place of several important engagements between the two countries.

The president expressed the hope that the intensity and engagements will help promote ties in the right direction and help in realising shared dream of a peaceful and prosperous South Asia. The president said it was important to sustain the process and make it more productive and result-oriented. Following is the text of the president’s letter to Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh;

“Excellency,

We had an excellent meeting in New Delhi when I visited India for pilgrimage to Ajmer Sharif in April this year.

We are happy to see that the dialogue process between our two countries is moving forward. Recently, several important engagements between our two sides have taken place. We are confident that the intensity and the range of these engagements will help promote our ties in the right direction and will also help in realizing our share dream of a peaceful and prosperous South Asia.

It is important to sustain this process and make it more productive and result-oriented. Our invitation for you to visit Pakistan is outstanding. Your visit will provide us an opportunity to take stock of our bilateral relations.

It gives me great pleasure to extend Your Excellency a cordial invitation to visit Pakistan. We could use that occasion to arrange a visit to your ancestral home town. If the visit were to coincide with the birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak Sahib, that would not only be well received by the Pakistani nation but also reinforced the mutual desire to promote inter-faith and inter-religious harmony.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

(Asif Ali Zardari)

H.E. Dr Manmohan Singh,

Prime Minister of the Republic of India