Gilani to meet Zardari to decide on Indian PMs invitation

Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who returned today from a visit to Uzbekistan, will meet President Asif Ali Zardari later in the day to decide on his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh`s invitation to Pakistan`s two top leaders to watch the World Cup semi-final between the cricket teams of the two countries.

Gilani flew back to Islamabad from Tashkent this afternoon. His return was delayed by a day due to bad weather over the Himalayas.

Yesterday, Singh had invited Zardari and Gilani to watch the semi-final with him at Mohali on March 30.

The premier would meet Zardari later in the day to discuss Singh`s invitation and make a decision, official sources said.

Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan told the media that other stakeholders, including the military leadership, would be consulted on the issue.

Official sources also told PTI that Singh`s invitation is likely to be accepted though only Gilani is expected to go to watch the match that will showcase one of the world`s most intense sporting rivalries.

Gilani has already held consultations on the issue with senior Foreign Ministry officials and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, who had accompanied him to Uzbekistan.

Information Minister Awan told reporters that the "invitation of love" from India will receive a "response of love" from Pakistan, which would not waste any opportunity to improve bilateral relations.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar had yesterday said that Pakistan welcomed the invitation extended by Prime Minister Singh.