New Delhi, May 25 UNI | 2 months ago

What will Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif discuss with Narendra Modi when they meet for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting a day after the Indian leader is sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India?


The answer to this question that has become a matter of absorbing interest and speculation is simple: something close to his heart.

And what is that issue Prime Minister Sharif is passionate about these days? Hold your breath. He wants to replicate Modi's success with the Sabarmati River Front Development Project (SRDP) on Lahore's Ravi River Front.

Mr Sharif is very much impressed by this Modi initiative, and has already asked Lahore officials to visit Gujarat and study the Sabarmati model.

A clear pointer this is that Indo-Pak bilateral discussions can go beyond the usual Kashmir, terrorism, and trade.

'Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif desires replication of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project (SRDP) model in Lahore's River Ravi and may share it with Indian premier-designate Narendra Modi during his visit to India starting May 26', Dawn reported.

Mr Sharif is of the view that the accomplishment of the SRDP in Ahmedabad is 'one of the major initiatives' of Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat, the influential daily added.

'The core objective of the PM's visit was to felicitate the Indian Prime Minister and break the ice on bilateral issues but he might also share his understanding about the SRDP during scheduled meeting on May 27', a senior Pakistan Punjab official told Dawn.

Ravi River Front development plan has just crossed the concept stage. It is a Pakistan Rupees 700 billion venture.

An international consultancy firm has started detailed feasibility, design and plan of the project under the supervision of the Strategic Policy Unit, a technical think-tank of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).

Mr Sharif desires completion of the project's phase-1 in one year. He has asked senior officials dealing with the Ravi venture to visit Gujarat and study the Sabarmati project.

'The (Pak) PM is of the view that a team led by the Commissioner and the LDA Director General should visit India to learn about the techniques and methods used in the SRDP to replicate it in Lahore,' a senior official stated.

A four-member Pak delegation was scheduled to fly to India during the second week of this month itself but the visit may now take place shortly after Mr Nawaz Sharif returns home from Delhi, according to Dawn.

(Posted on 26-05-2014)