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Pak Foreign Min. to visit India from Feb 20-23

By Staff
Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Feb 18: Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri will arrive here on February 20 on a three-day visit to co-chair the revived India- Pakistan Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) and have an overall review of the Composite Dialogue Process (CDP) with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The Pakistan Foreign Minister who will have discussions with Mr Mukherjee, is expected to present a fresh set of proposals including the one on liberalising the 1974 visa regime between the two countries, official sources said.

Siachen issue is also likely to come up during discussions between the two Foreign Ministers, the sources said.

The meeting between the two Foreign Ministers will be their third during the past four months.

The two countries had established a Joint Commission in March 1983 for strengthening cooperation in various fields. However, only three meetings could be held between 1983 and 1989 after which it did not meet following a downslide in relations between the two countries.

It was revived during President Pervez Musharraf's visit to India in April 2005. Consequently, Mr Mukherjee had, during his last month visit to Pakistan, extended an invitation to Mr Kasuri to visit New Delhi for the JCM.

During the three-day visit, Mr Kasuri will call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

He will also have a meeting with Hurriyat leaders including hardliner Ali Shah Gilani, at the Pakistan High Commission here.

Both factions of the Hurriyat Conference have been invited for the talks.

According to the sources, Pakistan has demanded doing away with police reporting for certain categories, allowing senior citizens of 65 years of age and above visas on arrival, increase in the number of religious sites to be visited by each side and increasing the duration of visit for businessmen. The two countries had last month, during Mr Mukherjee's visit to Islamabad, decided to allow diplomats from either country to visit Gurgaon and Noida in India and Taxila and Hasanabdal (Pakistan).

Mr Kasuri will be leading a 17-member official delegation at Joint Commission meeting to be held on February 21.

The Pakistani delegation will include Additional Secretary (UN) Tariq Osman Hyder, Director-General of South Asia Division Jalil Abbas Jilani, Director-General of Foreign Minister's Office Khalid Mahmud and Director (India) Irfan Ahmed.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Petroleum Ministry will visit Islamabad on February 22-23 for further discussions on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project.

The delegation, to be led by Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan, will hold discussions on various aspects of the multi-billion dollar project including the transit fee and security of the pipeline which passes through Pakistan before it reaches Indian shores.


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