The much expected visa liberalisation accord between Pakistan and India could not be signed at the second round of Interior/Home Secretaries meetings held under the resumed bilateral talks at Islamabad on May 24-25. Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik attributed the failure to ink the agreement to the need to sort out certain important points at the political level and issued a call for his Indian counterpart P. Chidambaram to pay a visit to Pakistan to finalise the visa liberalisation arrangement. The Indian side, however, claiming that it had come to Islamabad “fully prepared”, blamed procedural issues and Mr Malik’s desire to sign it at the political level, between him and Mr Chidambaram. New Delhi is, apparently, reluctant to send Mr Chidambaram to Pakistan to, as India’s Home Ministry is supposed to have told the media, bring home the point that it wanted Pakistan to act against the perpetrators of Mumbai terror attack before the Minister could plan a visit to Pakistan.
Some other reports in the media also reflect the sharp differences and tension that continue to bedevil Pakistan-India ties. For instance, there is the Indian Army Chief’s statement that it would not hand over Siachen to Pakistan and that a terrorist network exists across the border in Pakistan. Strangely, against the backdrop of such an Indian attitude, Ambassador Sherry Rehman, while talking to Indian media, reveals that Sarabjit Singh, the Indian spy held in Pakistan, would be sent back to his country within a week. Whatever the pressure, our national interests demand that we must not let off a spy who was out to harm us.