ISLAMABAD: Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari decided to host a special Diwali dinner for Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on learning that his meeting with the visiting Indian leader coincided with the Hindu festival of lights, officials said today.

The Bihar chief minister began a week-long visit to Pakistan on Friday.

On finding out that he would be meeting Kumar on the occasion of Diwali, Zardari decided to host a special dinner for the Indian delegation at the presidency. The President’s decision reflected the importance being attached to Kumar’s visit by the Pakistan People’s Party-led government at the center.

On the occasion of Diwali, President Zardari greeted Hindus and called for strengthening interfaith harmony and protecting the rights of minorities. The festival of lights is a time for celebration and reflection, he said.

“We partake in Diwali celebrations for promoting interfaith harmony as a means to fight religious apartheid and those who seek to impose their ideological agenda on the people,” Zardari said.