Heart of Asia conference: PM Narendra Modi to attend dinner​; Sartaj Aziz to arrive in Amritsar today


Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Azizwill leave for Amritsar on Saturday evening, instead of Sunday, to attend Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told IANS that Aziz is travelling by a special flight today evening (Saturday).”

Zakaria also said Aziz may attend the dinner hosted by the Punjab government in Amritsar, which is managing the global event. PM Narendra Modi is also likely to be present at the dinner.

Earlier, the Pakistan top diplomat was scheduled to reach Amritsar on Sunday.

The Afghanistan conference is likely to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Participants from over 40 countries are expected to attend the two-day event.

Amritsar — famous for the holiest of Sikh shrines, the Golden Temple, and the major city bordering Pakistan – is hosting the two-day multilateral global summit beginning today, with focus on stabilising the war-torn Afghanistan.

Organisers of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, founded in Istanbul in November 2011, said the aim was to strengthen confidence-building measures and initiate steps to counter narcotics and terrorism and to expand trade, commerce and investment opportunities in Afghanistan.

Over 40 foreign ministers and dignitaries of the participating countries, including Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, supporting countries like the US, Canada and France and international organisations like the European Union, will participate in the conference.

The last Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference was held in Islamabad in December 2015.