Pope Francis has accepted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s invitation to visit Pakistan by the end of this year, a message received from the Vatican confirmed on Wednesday.

Minister for Ports and Shipping Senator Kamran Michael and Michael Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yusuf, who are visiting the Vatican, extended the invitation to the Pope on the premier’s behalf, a press release stated.

Michael had an audience with Pope Francis in Vatican where he extended the premier’s invite to him. The minister along with his delegation will also meet Secretary of the State Antoine A Miller and discuss matters of mutual interest.

Michael said the visit would further strengthen the dialogue process between Pakistan and The Holy See.