Pak senate chief 'slighted', Rajasthan governor said sorry


India has promised to extend diplomatic "courtesy" to Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf during his private visit to Jaipur this weekend, but it has now come to light that local authorities committed a diplomatic faux pas when Pakistani Senate chairman Syed Nayyar Hussan Bukhari visited Ajmer in December.

So much so that an extremely offended Bukhari, who is number two in Pakistan's official hierarchy after the President, threatened to cancel meetings and go back, sources told The Indian Express. He calmed down only after Rajasthan governor Margaret Alva telephoned him and apologised for the slight, and continued with the rest of his visit.

Vice President Hamid Ansari, who had invited Bukhari to India for the official visit, is learnt to have conveyed his displeasure to top officials after he came to know about the incident. He asked them to sensitise local officers about dealing with high-level foreign delegations.

Bukhari is the chairman of Pakistan's upper house of Parliament and had gone to Ajmer after meetings with Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. He had been extended diplomatic protocol reserved for the Vice President.

Sources privy to details of the incident said that Bukhari was having lunch with his delegation comprising of about half-a-dozen senators during his day-long visit to Ajmer to offer prayers when local intelligence officers approached them to check their passports and visas.

A Pakistani official asked them to wait, saying they would produce the documents after lunch. But the intelligence officers apparently insisted on seeing the documents immediately, leading to a verbal exchange.

The commotion came to the notice of Bukhari and he was extremely upset when he was told about the cause. He is understood to have threatened to cancel his meetings with Alva later in the day.

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