As Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee prepares to meet Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, the government has belatedly initiated a process of political consultations with a clutch of political leaders. On June 28, Vajpayee met former prime ministers V.P. Singh and P.V. Narasimha Rao. Subsequently, an all-party meet has been convened in Agra for July 9, a week before the summit, to apprise the Opposition of the reasons why Musharraf has been invited over for talks.
Ironically, Pakistani high commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi was first off the block, meeting Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, former prime ministers and a host of Opposition stalwarts and luminaries, even before Vajpayee initiated the consultation process. Qazi's intention was to gauge the overall political mood in the country and determine the extent of political acceptability for the summit before President Musharraf lands in New Delhi.