NEW DELHI, March 4: Pakistan's top two diplomats in New Delhi have 'protectively' booked accommodation in Chandigarh around March 8, just in case President Gen.
Pervez Musharraf surprises them by arriving to watch the first Test match between India and Pakistan in neighbouring Mohali, official sources said on Friday.
High Commissioner Aziz Ahmed Khan and Deputy High Commissioner Munawwar Saeed Bhatti are not taking any chances amid indications from Islamabad that the president may watch the opening day of the first Test match in Mohali.
"Accommodation has been booked for all concerned although we have no official information yet on President Musharraf's visit," a Pakistani official said on condition of anonymity.
He was referring to news reports from Islamabad that effectively said that Gen. Musharraf would happily be there to watch one of the matches provided he was invited. Indian news agencies quickly came back with positive sounding news from official quarters.
They quoted Indian foreign ministry sources as saying on Friday that Gen. Musharraf's offer to travel to India "to watch an Indo-Pak cricket match will be responded to positively".
The second Test match in Kolkota, a leftist bastion, would be another place to consider for the speculated visit in view of a recent positive meeting between Gen. Musharraf and two of India's main communist leaders. A one-day match in Delhi itself on April 17 is being seen as too remote an occasion for such a visit.
If it does take place, regardless of which cricket ground Gen Musharraf chooses, this would not be the first time Pakistan has initiated cricket diplomacy to improve ties between the two countries.
The Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur hosted a solitary Test match in February 1987 when then President Gen. Zia-ul-Haq hopped across the border to watch the second day's play as part of his 'Cricket for Peace' initiative.
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