Interior Minister Rehman Malik has sought a change in the dates of his upcoming visit to India owing to a previously scheduled meeting in Turkey. The new dates proposed by Pakistan are December 14 to 16.

Earlier he was scheduled to visit India from December 11 to December 13 with a visit to Taj Mahal packed in to allow him to celebrate his birthday there on December 12. After Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told the media that India would facilitate the Taj Mahal visit as Mr Malik had expressed a desire to spend his birthday there, the Minister was at the receiving end of jibes galore in Pakistan.

The Minister sought to clear the air on his India visit via Twitter in the wee hours of Thursday. Thanking Mr. Shinde for his “kind gesture to invite me to celebrate my birthday in Agra”, Mr Malik said the new dates proposed for the visit were December 14-16 and an official statement would be issued later in the day.

He also questioned the media reportage of him going to Agra to celebrate his birthday; stating that they “should have asked me if I am going on 12th to India or not”. This is the second time that his visit to India to usher in the new visa regime is being rescheduled. Earlier, he was to be in India from November 22 to 23 but India requested a change in dates. Later, it became evident that the rescheduling was sought to save Mr Malik the embarrassment of being in India a day after the execution of Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist nabbed alive in the Mumbai terror case.

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