NEW DELHI, Aug 10: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s birthday will be celebrated in Pakistan in his ancestral Punjab village in Gah next month, local news reports said.
They quoted Pakistan’s popular singer Salman Ahmad as saying he was invited by acclaimed environmentalist and Nobel laureate Rajendra Kumar Pachauri on behalf of the Indian prime minister to perform at the celebrations on Sept 26 when Dr Singh turns 80.
There was no official confirmation of the reports but it is significant that Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna is expected to visit Islamabad around that time.
“To celebrate the occasion, musicians from both sides of the border are gearing up to strum a new note — of cross-border peace and harmony,” the Times of India reported. Taking part in the celebrations “will be Sufi rockers Junoon and apna Sunidhi Chauhan.”
Salman Ahmad of Junoon said he was approached by Mr Pachauri, who served as the chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 during his tenure.
“Dr Pachauri invited me for dinner in Delhi and said that the prime minister would like Junoon to perform at the PM’s 80th birthday celebrations in his Pakistani birthplace.”
The singer said: “It would be great to show Indo-Pakistan harmony through music. Besides, I love Sunidhi’s voice! Junoon has always promoted love and friendship between India and Pakistan and I feel that music is the most powerful force to bring the two neighbours together.” —Correspondent