ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and India will hold three-day crucial review meeting from September 7-9 when foreign ministers of the two countries, Hina Rabbani Khar and SM Krishna, will be discussing steps to normalise bilateral relations.
According to a statement issued by Foreign Office on Friday, before the talks between the foreign ministers, foreign secretaries of the two countries will hold a preparatory meeting on September 7. Khar and Krishna will also co-chair the plenary session of the Pakistan-India Joint Commission on September 8.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Thursday in Tehran on the sidelines of the NAM Summit in which Pakistani President told Indian premier that Islamabad was eagerly looking forward to his visit at an early date, while Singh responded that he would travel to Pakistan at an appropriate time.
Commenting on Zardari-Singh meeting, Foreign Minister Hina said it was ‘good’ and that “there is ample proof that the political leadership of the two countries is committed to improving and normalising relations.”
Pakistan and India have taken important steps this year to improve their ties with more emphasis on increasing trade and economic cooperation.
Pakistan has decided to grant status of most-favoured nation (MFN) to India in trade by the end of the year while India has agreed to permit Pakistani entrepreneurs to invest in India.
Relations between Pakistan and India remained in tatters following the Mumbai terrorists attack but subsequently both the countries agreed to resume their dialogue process in 2011.
Agencies add: Talking to reporters in Tehran on Friday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Pakistan had finalised work on visa regime with India and hoped it would be signed during the visit of Indian Foreign Minister to Pakistan in September.
The interior minister said Pakistan wants friendly relations with India and added that in some matters it was going out of the way to ensure better relations with its immediate neighbour.
Malik, who accompanied the President during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, termed the meeting ‘excellent’, and said both countries were heading in the right direction to resolve all outstanding issues.
He said it was the obligation of the two states to identify their common enemy, which does not want the two countries to be friends. “We would not allow anyone to exploit the situation,” he added.
He referred to many cases in the past during which allegations were levelled against Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), but in the end it transpired that in fact the people from India were responsible.
He said all those responsible for creating misunderstandings between the two countries must be stopped as the objective was to achieve peace at all costs.
Regarding the progress on Mumbai case, he said Pakistan has taken numerous steps to bring the culprits to justice. He said the Commission sent by Pakistan had demanded that the three major witnesses; including the doctor, the magistrate and the investigating officer be allowed to be cross-examined.
He said once the cross-examination report is available, the Pakistani courts could proceed on the matter.
He said it was a very complex situation where non-state actors, both from Pakistan and India, were involved in creating misunderstandings between the two countries and mentioned David Headley, whom he described as a ‘triple agent’.
Malik expressed the belief that frequent interaction between the leadership of the two countries would help improve the environment.
Regarding Hafiz Saeed, he said all allegations against him were based on hearsay. He said he has repeatedly said that if India has some solid evidence it should come up with it.
Hina-Krishna talks on 8th