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Shahbaz Sharif to visit ancestral village in Punjab

IANS  |  Chandigarh 

A nondescript village in Punjab's border Tarn Taran district is getting a facelift to welcome its VIP visitor this Sunday. Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is scheduled to visit Jatti Umra, the ancestral village of the Sharif family.

Shahbaz Sharif, who arrived in New Delhi Thursday and met top leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will arrive in Punjab Friday evening.

He will be the highest ranked Pakistani leader and Sharif family member to visit the family's ancestral village, located 35 km from the Sikh holy city of Amritsar and about 50 km from the India-Pakistan international border.

The village, comprising mostly Sikh families now, celebrated the election of Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan's prime minister in May this year by distributing of sweets and dancing bhangra to dhol beats.

The Sharif family migrated from Jatti Umra before the Partition of India and creation of Pakistan in August 1947.

Punjab's Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who is supervising arrangements for Shahbaz Sharif's visit to the village, said the visit will help better ties between both countries.

"The visit will help bring east and west Punjab and their people closer. Both Punjabs can benefit from trade and people-to-people ties," Majithia said.

Shahbaz Sharif will arrive in Chandigarh Friday evening and stay in a hotel. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will host a dinner for him in Mohali town, 10 km from here, the same evening.

On Saturday, he will visit Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, 110 km from here. He will also address a joint press conference with Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The same evening, he will be chief guest at the World Kabaddi Cup (WKC) in Ludhiana.

On Sunday, Sharif will visit the Talwandi Sabo thermal power plant in Bathinda district. He will be hosted lunch by chief minister Badal at his residence in Badal village in Muktsar district.

He will round up his trip with a visit to Jatti Umra and by offering prayers at holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple, in Amritsar.

Shahbaz Sharif was scheduled to visit Punjab December last year also but his visit was cancelled at the last minute owing to "health reasons".

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First Published: Thu, December 12 2013. 17:52 IST