Nirupama Subramanian

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi declared during a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee that a very positive development had taken place “on a long-overdue visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” the assembled journalists held their collective breath for an announcement of a date.

But it turned into peals of laughter when Mr. Qureshi completed his sentence by saying “it has been decided that this visit will take place this year.”

“Tell us it is happening this month,” yelled one journalist amid the laughter.

“No, we cannot say it will happen this month. Both sides want that before the visit there should be sufficient progress, for which the chances are very bright,” said the Pakistan Foreign Minister.

Mr. Qureshi said he had accepted an invitation to visit India in June.

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