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Birthday at Taj for Pakistan minister

New Delhi, Dec. 4: India will host Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik on his birthday on December 12.

Home minister Sushil Shinde, who has invited Malik to visit India between December 11 and 13 to operationalise a liberalised visa agreement, is organising the birthday bash, a day ahead of the Parliament attack anniversary.

“He (Malik) said the 12th is his birthday and he wanted to spend it at the Taj Mahal. He will spend his birthday at the Taj Mahal and the Government of India will make the arrangements,” Shinde said.

“Let’s see,” a smiling Shinde told The Telegraph, asked if he would accompany Malik to Agra. “Let him enjoy.”

Officials in Shinde’s ministry were, however, not smiling, clearly tense that the visa pact might have to be signed on the attack anniversary — December 13 — if Malik arrived late on the 11th.

The agreement had been signed in September by then foreign minister S.M. Krishna during his visit to Islamabad. Both sides have agreed to make cross-border travel less of a hassle for business people, elders and children while promising a wider reach of five places for tourists who come in groups.

Bangla pact

India and Bangladesh have decided to sign an extradition treaty in Dhaka next month.

Shinde, who met his Bangladesh counterpart Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir today, said the treaty was in its final stages and would be signed in January.

Shinde said India would respond to Dhaka’s request to track and hand over the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. “I reassured them that we would extend all possible co-operation in this regard (of extradition), if they are in India,” he said.

Dhaka said it stood by its commitment regarding Ulfa leader Anup Chetia’s status. “As of now, Mr Anup Chetia’s appeal for asylumů is pending with the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. Once the legal process is exhausted, a decision will be taken,” Alamgir told a joint media interaction.

He said the decision would be on the basis of the understanding that forces inimical to either country would not be allowed to use each other’s soil.