Ahead of bilateral talks Union home secretary's Aman ki Asha
Stating that India would try to resolve the contentious issues with Pakistan during the forthcoming Home secretary level bilateral talks scheduled for May 24th and 25th at Islamabad, India's Union home secretary R.K. Singh expressed hope that the talks will help to improve relations between two nations and dissolve misconceptions.
Accompanied by wife, Singh was visiting the Attari international border with Pakistan to inspect the Integrated Check Post (ICP) ahead of the proposed visit of Home Minister P. Chidambaram. "We
will try to find a cordial solution to the core issues through the process of dialogue and I hope that relations between two nations will be much better after the talks" he said.
He added, however, that India does plan to take up the issue of fugitives demanded from Pakistan and action against perpetrators of 26/11 attacks including its principal architect Hafiz Saeed.
He also expressed concern over narcotics smuggling from across the border that is a major issue in the agenda of bilateral talks. He said that the Indian Border Security Force has made significant seizures of heroin besides killing Pakistani smugglers in the recent past.
- Yudhvir Rana, TNN
Liberalised visa regime on the cards
The news that India and Pakistan are set to issue, for the first time in their histories, tourist
visas to each other's citizens has been widely welcomed, along with reports that they also plan
ease visa conditions for those whose spouses are from the other country, and issue visas on arrival
at Wagah-Attari for senior citizens and young children.
These groundbreaking relaxations in visa rules are expected to be finalised during the Home
Secretaries' meeting in Islamabad on May 24 and May 25, between India's R. K. Singh and his
Pakistani counterpart K. M. Siddique Akbar. The new visa rules may come into force in August, following the meeting between Indian External Affairs minister S. M. Krishna with Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar in the third week of July.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the liberalised bilateral visa agreement, negotiated by a joint working group from both sides, will allow non-extendable 30-day "Group tourist visas" to be issued to groups of 10-50 individuals, for tours organised by an approved operator or travel agent.
The operator will have to submit a detailed itinerary, and will be responsible for reporting to police for the group. Groups of school and college students can visit each other's country on the group tourist visa. Families of individuals married to a national of the other country will be eligible for two-year, multiple entry visas. One person will be able to report to police on behalf of the entire family.
The new visa protocol also eases travel for businessmen. 'Category A' businessmen, with an annual turnover of Pakistan rupees 5 million or more will get a one-year multiple-entry visa, and will be able to travel to 10 places. 'Category B' businessmen, with an annual turnover of half a million Pakistan rupees will be eligible for a one-year visa with up to four entries, and can travel to five places. Businessmen will not have to go to the police station to report their presence; they can send a representative.
Visa-on-arrival for senior citizens (65 years and above), which both countries had agreed upon some years ago, will now be implemented. This facility will also be available to young children (12 years and below). They will be given a visa for 45 days. Holders of this category of visa will be exempt from reporting to police.
The number of cities that a normal visitor can go to is being increased from the existing three to five.
The current entry-exit point restrictions that limit entry and exit to the same point will be relaxed to allow entry and exit through any point.
Visiting or transit visa fees, currently Rs 15 for both sides, will be increased to Pakistan rupees 200 (Rs 120 in Indian currency, at the current exchange rate).
* LIBERALISED bilateral visa agreement to be finalised at the home secretaries' meeting in Islamabad on May 24 and 25.
* GROUP VISAS for tour groups of 10-50, including students, for 30 days. Tour to be organised by approved operator.
* BUSINESSMEN eligible for a visa valid for up to a year; multiple entry; allowed to travel to up to 10 places.
* FAMILIES of individuals with a spouse of the other country to be eligible for two-year, multiple entry visas.
* VISA-ON-ARRIVAL, valid for 45 days, for seniors over 65 years and children under 12 years at Wagah-Attari border; exempt from police reporting.
* ENTRY, EXIT through multiple points; eligible for up to 5 cities.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
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The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw