Indo-Pak Home Secretaries to meet today
Focus On Enhancing Peaceful Relations, People-To-People Contact
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Mar 27: Setting a positive tone for Home Secretary-level meeting here, Pakistan Interior Secretary Chaudhary Qamar Zaman Sunday said such efforts would enhance peaceful relations between the two neighbours and that his side would look for an easier and faster visa regime.
Zaman, who is leading a six-member delegation for the two-day talks with Home Secretary G K Pillai from Monday, said his meeting was aimed at promoting and strengthening peace between the two neighbours.
“Such efforts between the two sides would enhance peaceful relations and promote people-to-people contact,” Zaman told reporters at the Attari-Wagah border before flying to New Delhi.
“The entire country has appreciated this gesture of Prime Minister of India,” he said referring to the invitation extended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the Indo-Pak World Cup semi-final in Mohali on March 30. Gilani has accepted Singh’s invitation.
Pakistan is also hoping to make some progress with India on easing the visa regime. “We will be talking to our counterparts in New Delhi about how to make travel easier for the common man. One of the issues we intend to discuss is the visa issue between the two countries and how to make it easier and faster so that the common man gets the benefit out of it,” he said.
Pillai and Zaman will meet in the shadow of a summit meeting between the two sides on the margins of the cricket encounter in Mohali.
No major breakthrough is expected in the official- level talks being held after a gap of nine months, officials here say but they expect “ice may be broken” for the resumption of substantial dialogue later.
The Home Secretaries will deliberate on a wide range of issues, including Islamabad’s “reluctance” in co-operating fully in bringing to justice the perpetrators of 26/11 attacks.
When Home Minister P Chidambaram had asked for action against the 26/11 perpetrators and voice samples of handlers of the attackers during his Islamabad visit last year, his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik told him that “you would not be disappointed by our response.”
But nine months down the line, there is no Pakistani response, officials point out. “So how can we expect that this meeting will bring a major breakthrough for us?” an official asked.
New Delhi had also conveyed to Islamabad that it wants to send a commission to Pakistan to question jailed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
India is yet to get any response to it though New Delhi conveyed to Islamabad that a similar Commission could be sent by Pakistan to India to question the investigating officer of the 26/11 probe and the judge of the trial court.
Issues like dismantling of terror camps across the border, handing over of voice samples of Mumbai terror attack masterminds and progress in Samjhauta Express blast probe are expected to dominate the agenda of the two Home Secretaries dialogue.
New Delhi will also ask Islamabad to hand over Indian Mujhahideen terrorists and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim taking shelter in that country and check inflow of fake Indian currency notes.
Pakistan is expected to ask India about the progress of Samjhauta Express blast probe in which activists of right- wing groups were allegedly involved. Majority of the victims of the train, which runs between India and Pakistan, were from the neighbouring country.
To questions on the agenda before for the talks, Zaman said all core issues would be discussed in a peaceful atmosphere.
Appreciating Prime Minister’s initiative, Zaman hoped it would help create a conducive and peaceful atmosphere between India and Pakistan.
Zaman said he would try his level best to watch the match at Mohali on Wednesday during his official tour in India and wished all success to the Pakistani team.
Asked about the expectations from the talks soon after his arrival in Delhi, he said, “I am sure we will listen to each and we will come to the expectations after we start talking”.
To a question on cricket diplomacy, he said, “cricket is very popular in both the countries. This is a commonality...It should definitely lead to creating further commonality and harmony.”
The proposed talks will be the first structured bilateral secretary-level meeting on counter-terrorism after India and Pakistan decided to resume comprehensive talks.
More than two years after India had suspended the composite dialogue with Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks in November, 2008, the two sides decided in Thimphu in February this year to resume comprehensive dialogue on all outstanding issues. After the Home Secretary level talks, Commerce Secretaries and Water Resources Secretaries of the two countries are expected to meet in the near future.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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