A visit by a Pakistan head of state is always a big occassion. It is important as India and Pakistan do not see eye to eye on many issues. Reading from father time one can see that General Ayub Khan made a visit to India to meet Nehru. At that time he had just taken over as Chief Martial Law administrator. it was a visit for one day and Ayub pledged '' Lets bury the hatchet". But nothing like that happened and he led Pakistan to two wars against India in the Rann of Kutch and Kashmir in 1965.
Zulfikar Bhuttoalso visited India in 1973 and signed the Simla accord. He promised a solution to the Kashmir problem, but he went back and started the 'Islamic bomb' till he was overthrown. He did not follow the Simla accord in letter or spirit.
In this background the visit of Zardari must be taken witha pinch of salt. Firstly he is a man besieged by corruption scandals and the Pakistan Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikar Choudhry is after him. Secondly he is greatly weakened after the memo gate scandal and the Pakistan army is wary off him. Thus Zardari is laboring under an handicap. However good his intentions, hecannot deliver against the wishes of the Army led by General Kayini.
But I will say Pakistan President Asif Zardari is not a hawk and many times he has articulated that India is not an enemy. He knows that the enemy of Pakistan is the Muslim extremist organizations that took the lead in the murder of his wife Benazir Bhutto.
But it is good Zardari has come as it will lead to a easing of tension. India must back Zardari as he is our best bet. He needs his hands to be strengthened against the Pakistan army and Kayini. This generel is not a patch on General Musharaff who had qualities of statesmanship.
Zaradari will also go to Ajmer and his son Bilal Bhutto is also with him. Both of them will be able to see first hand the top Indian leadership and interact with them. Its a golden opportunity and India need not be too skeptical about it. All said and done Zardari is a good man who understands that Pakistan can only go forward after peace with India.