India, Pakistan Home Secretaries resolve to combat terrorism in all forms

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Islamabad, Nov.27 : India and Pakistan have reiterated their resolve to combat the menace of terrorism in all forms and manifestation.

A joint statement issued by both countries after the conclusion of the two-day fifth round of Interior/Home Secretary talks held here on November 25 and 26, said: "Both sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and affirmed their resolve to cooperate with each other to combat the menace of terrorism. It was agreed that terrorism must be prevented and as directed by the leadership of the two countries at the meeting in New York on 24th September 2008, severe action be taken against any elements involved in terrorist acts. The joint statement was signed and issued by India's Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta and Pakistan's Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah.

The focus of the talks was on terrorism and drugs trafficking.

Both sides welcomed the release of prisoners and fishermen by each other on the eve of these talks as a gesture of goodwill and on humane considerations.

It was agreed to exchange by 31st December 2008, names of those civil prisoners, who have completed their sentence and whose national status has been confirmed, with a view to facilitating their release in January. It was further agreed that, henceforth, verification of nationality status would be completed within six weeks of provision of consular access. It was also agreed to facilitate the expeditious release of fishermen and boats.

The signing of an Agreement on Consular Access during the review of the Fourth Round of Pakistan-India Composite Dialogue was also welcomed by the two delegations, and they re-affirmed their desire to have the agreement fully implemented.

Both sides commended the work done by the Judicial Committee on Prisoners for the release, repatriation and humane treatment of prisoners and agreed on the need for the continuation of the work of the Committee.

The two sides also underscored the need for visa liberalization. In this context, the joint statement said useful discussions were held on draft Visa Agreement. It was agreed that the Indian side would propose a draft Visa Agreement within four weeks, based on parameters discussed.

Both sides agreed that the issue of inadvertent crossers be viewed from a humanitarian dimension and recommended early finalization of the draft agreement regarding inadvertent crossings by the expert group on Conventional CBMs which is due to meet soon.

Both sides agreed that the Protocol of 1974 on visits to religious shrines was due for revision along with lists of religious shrines in both countries. They said the subject will be discussed under the segment of Secretary Culture level talks on Promotion of Friendly Exchanges which is likely to take place soon.

It was recommended that a revised Protocol and the list of shrines should be finalized as early as possible and the Pakistan side agreed to furnish its comments on the lists before the talks on Friendly Exchanges.

Both sides described as positive the existing cooperation and information sharing between the Anti Narcotics Force of Pakistan and the Narcotics Control Bureau of India and agreed that both Agencies would enhance mutual cooperation in terms of effective and sustained steps to control drugs trafficking.

During the talks, the MoU on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics Drugs/Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals and Related Matters, was initialed.

Both sides agreed that the MoU will further promote bilateral cooperation in this field.

It was also agreed that the Director General ANF of Pakistan and Director General of NCB of India will meet as early as possible to discuss ways of furthering cooperation.

It was also decided that the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan and the Central Bureau of Investigation of India will schedule a meeting at an early date to discuss ways of cooperation in addressing the issues of human trafficking, illegal immigration, and counterfeit currency, along with Red Corner Notices (RCN) subjects.

Home Secretary Gupta also called on the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior, Rehman Malik and discussed issues of mutual interest.

It was agreed to continue the discussions within the framework of the Composite Dialogue.

ANI

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