Pakistan for concretizing ties with India
REZAUL H LASKAR
Islamabad, May 31: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday expressed his “strong desire” to build “further momentum” to carry forward relations with India in a constructive manner.
Gilani made the remarks when Pakistan's High Commissioner-designate to India, Salman Bashir, called on him before his departure to New Delhi to assume his new assignment.
Bashir, who recently retired as Foreign Secretary, will replace Shahid Malik as Pakistan's envoy to India ahead of several key meetings between the two countries, including External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's visit to Islamabad to review the bilateral peace process with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong desire to build further momentum to carry the bilateral relations forward in a constructive manner,” said a statement issued by Gilani's office. The Premier “emphasized the importance which the present government attaches to Pakistan-India relations."
Meanwhile, India today attributed the failure to sign a liberalized visa agreement with Pakistan last week to pending internal consultations in Islamabad and that country's Interior Minister's desire for political participation in the exercise.
Home Secretary R K Singh said that during the Indo-Pak Home Secretary level talks in Islamabad on May 24-25 that the new visa pact could not be signed as Pakistani side conveyed that some internal discussions were still pending.
"An impression was also conveyed that Interior Minister of Pakistan (Rehman Malik) wants both the Home Ministers to be present when it is signed," he told reporters here when asked the reason for the failure to sign the pact.
Singh said the Pakistani delegation told the Indian team that after the internal approvals, they would seek New Delhi's convenient date to sign the agreement
"I told them that when you seek our convenience, we will see and consult to determine our convenience," he said.
Asked what was his problem in visiting Pakistan or inviting his counterpart here to sign the agreement, Home Minister P Chidambaram, who was also present at the press conference, said visit by an Indian Minister to any foreign country was not an easy process.
"Visits by ministers at central government level are decided at the highest level in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs. It is not a matter of A inviting B. I can invite you to my home for tea. But that is not the way you can simplify the issue. These are decisions taken at the highest level after consulting the MEA and others involved," he said.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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