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Malik to skip Taj on birthday

New Delhi, Dec. 6: Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik will not be celebrating his 62nd birthday at the Taj, after all.

Malik’s birthday is on December 12, the day before the Parliament attack anniversary.

Malik today announced he was deferring his scheduled visit to India, his annoyance at not being able to spend the day in Agra coming through in a tweet. “Media is televising that I will be celebrating my birthday in Agra? Media shd have asked me if I am going on 12th to India or not?” he tweeted this afternoon.

There had been excitement on either side of the border on Tuesday after home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde announced that the Indian government would organise Malik’s birthday celebrations at the Taj on December 12.

The visit’s primary objective was to announce the operationalisation of a liberalised visa agreement signed on September 6.

“The new proposed dates of my visit are 14 to 16th. Our high commissioner is finalizing the programme,” Malik tweeted.

“Pak High commissioner was informed in the morning that I will not be able to visit 11th to 13th as I had to be (present at a) tripod meeting in Turkey,” he said.

This is the second time Malik has had to change his plans. He had earlier wanted to visit India on November 22 but Parliament’s winter session was to commence that day.

Although the minister explained the change in plan was because of the tripartite meeting in Turkey, sources said the Parliament attack anniversary on December 13 could be the main reason.

Malik’s presence on the sensitive date could have embarrassed both Islamabad and New Delhi, the sources said.