Pakistan proposes dates for FM Qureshi's visit to India

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Islamabad, Jun 9 (UNI) Pakistan has proposed the dates of June 27-29 for Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmud Qureshi's first bilateral visit to India.

Local daily The News quoted diplomatic sources as saying that they have proposed to the Indian side dates of June 27-29 for the Foreign Minister's visit and await confirmation from New Delhi.

During the planned three-day official trip, that may include a short trip to Ajmer Sharif , Mr Qureshi will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee at whose invitation he will be visiting India.

The duo had their first interaction here last month when they met on May 21 to review the progress made in the Fourth Round of Composite Dialogue.

Mr Qureshi's call on meetings with the top Indian leadership including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Patil are being planned, sources said.

Also on the cards would be talks with the ruling Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and BJP leader L K Advani.

His message to the Indian leadership would be that while the new government in Pakistan is fully committed to take forward the peace process in a big way, it was important for it to be result-oriented, it is learnt.

In this context the foreign minister would underscore the need for the two countries to move beyond CBMs and focus on dispute resolution, according to informed sources.

Foreign Minister Qureshi's visit is also expected to pave way for the Indian Prime Minister's long pending visit to Pakistan as Qureshi would renew the invitation already extended to him by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Musharraf.

Although the Foreign Minister's visit to India would be outside the Composite Dialogue framework, in his talks with Pranab Mukherjee he would follow up on discussions held on key issues here last month.

According to those involved in the preparations of the upcoming visit, high on agenda would be the Jammu and Kashmir issue, Sir Creek, Siachen, economic cooperation, trade matters and finalisation of the pending agreement on liberalisation of the visa regime.

Notably before proceeding to India, Foreign Minister Qureshi will have a sitting with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) delegation led by its Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Islamabad.

The APHC delegation is scheduled to visit Pakistan from June 21 to 25 at the invitation of the foreign minister.

UNI XC ARB KN1510

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