Indo-Pak Affairs

LoC facilities to figure in talks with Pak FM

SRINAGAR: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s five-day trip to India from Wednesday has now been upgraded to an official sojourn. The visit touted earlier as a his private rendezvous is now full of official engagements where both sides are scheduled to review bilateral dialogue process and to arrive at some decision on the issue of Sir Creek and the opening of communication, transaction and banking facilities across the LoC.

Besides holding formal discussions with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee immediately after arriving here on Wednesday evening at Hyderabad House, the visiting Minister is also scheduled to meet a host of Indian leaders. A meeting with the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is also on cards.

Both ministers will travel to Chandigarh on Thursday to attend a day-long programme on the subject of cooperative development, peace and security in South Asia organized by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID). An interactive session has also been planned where they will face questions from the audience.

On Friday Qureshi is scheduled to return Delhi before visiting Dargah of Khawaja Moinduddin Chesti in Ajmeer via Jaipur. In the evening he will address Indian women press corps at the Women Press Club. Before departing to Pakistan on Saturday, he will interact with the leaders of Left Parties and top BJP leaders Jaswant Singh and L. K. Advani separately at their residences.

A Pakistani diplomat said Pakistan attaches high importance to the peace process with India as both share common objectives in many spheres to give a good life and bright future to their people. He said relations between the two nuclear neighbors have improved but all tracts of the peace process have not shown identical progress as he said the disputes like Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek continue to linger on.

Both sides are expected to give a much needed political push to the issue of Sir Creek. The officials of both countries are meeting in Delhi on December 2 to take a final call. A diplomat here confirmed that resolution of this issue was at an advanced stage which pertains to demarcation of borders.

“We are coming around to a point of view espoused by experts of both the sides who have suggested certain formula. It will be adopted at political level and then at expert level. Mid-stream border is an option. The area has been surveyed. The pillars that demarcated the border in 1941 have disappeared. So they took a fresh look at the border. We will be able to resolve this issue,” the diplomat requesting anonymity said here.-SANA

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Nabeel Malik

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