In Jama Masjid, Sharif says he has come for peace

New Delhi:  Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the 17th century Jama Masjid here Tuesday and said he had come to India to “build better ties”.

Sharif, who attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration a day earlier, spent half hour at the sprawling sandstone mosque in the heart of Old Delhi, admiring it and its environs.

Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, quoted Sharif as saying that his (Sharif’s) desire was to build better ties between India and Pakistan.

“He (Sharif) told me that he has come to India with a message of peace and to build closer ties (with India),” Bukhari told IANS.

Sharif added that there was no specific agenda in the talks he is set to have with Modi.

Accompanied by Sartaj Aziz, adviser on national security and foreign affairs, and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, Sharif had a leisurely view of Old Delhi from the elevated Mughal-built mosque.

“The prime minister said he felt as if he was in Pakistan,” Bukhari said. “He also said that there appeared to be no difference between this Jama Masjid and the Jama Masjid (he goes to) in Pakistan.”

The Imam said he urged Sharif to relax the visa norms between India and Pakistan.

“Easier visas will enable Indians and Pakistanis to make visits without hassles,” he said.

“I told the prime minister that once people come together, governments will come together too.”

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