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Special arrangements were made for Sartaj Aziz: India

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on foreign affairs, speaks during a news conference in Kabul July 21, 2013. Aziz denied on Sunday backing Afghanistan's breakup or planning to end the Afghan war with a power-sharing role for the Taliban during a fence-mending visit to Kabul aimed at lowering cross-border tension. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT)

That visiting leaders and officials complain about inadequate arrangements or restrictions is not new, especially when it concerns India-Pakistan ties.

The visit of Pakistani prime minister’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz to Amritsar was no exception with Pakistani media complaining about a host of issues, including Aziz not being allowed to visit the Golden Temple and visiting mediapersons not being able to talk to their leaders.

However, Indian officials claimed that Aziz was given extra courtesies.

Amritsar airport is not among those where Pakistani nationals are allowed to enter or exit from India. An exception was made for him. The Pakistani leader was given tarmac access, part of protocol niceties that allow the dignitary to drive up to his or her aircraft.

An armoured car was also given to Aziz, but not to his counterparts from other countries. Indian officials pointed out that despite the last-minute change of programme and advancing his arrival by a special flight by more than 12 hours, all arrangements were made for him.

Aziz, however, had termed the arrangements made for his stay in India as “strange”, saying the Pakistani delegation was housed in a separate hotel, and they were denied visits by guests.

He also said that he was barred from speaking to reporters. “The attitude towards the media was not good. I wanted to have press interaction with our own media. But we were not allowed,” he alleged.

Pakistan media and officials said Aziz was not given permission to visit Golden Temple. Indian officials said some delegations were not allowed to visit the temple due to security reasons.

“Due to huge rush at the Temple, we couldn’t have given proper security to Pakistan delegation at such short notice,” Indian officials said. -HT


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