ISLAMABAD, June 27: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal has said that India will soon engage the government led by Nawaz Sharif in dialogue in an effort to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries.

Mr Sabharwal met the chief of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and informed him about the progress made by the two countries in various areas.

He said that in the last two years India had improved its visa regime and now Pakistani citizens were allowed to visit 10 cities. “The visa regime has been relaxed both for businessmen and other people of 65 years or more,” Mr Sabharwal said.

He also informed the JUI-F leader about the progress made in the field of bilateral trade. The trade relations had improved because of the better environment provided by the two countries.

“This is an achievement,” he said and expressed gratitude to all the stakeholders in the two countries for making this possible.

On his part, Maulana Fazl lauded the Indian move to relax its visa regime but said Pakistani travellers were still facing numerous difficulties both on the border and inside India. He said the Indian authorities should relax visa and travel restrictions further.

He welcomed the growth registered by the two countries in bilateral trade and took the opportunity to clarify his stance on the matter. “I did not oppose the WTO’s recommendation for granting most favoured nation (MFN) status to India, but there are two outstanding issues — Kashmir and the water dispute — that have hampered the normalisation of relations between the two countries,” he added.

The Maulana said the water dispute had a direct bearing on Pakistan’s agricultural, industrial and trade sectors, and would not allow the two countries to benefit fully from their massive potential.

The Maulana urged the top leaders of the two neighbouring countries to show maturity and resolve their outstanding issues.

Afghanistan also came under discussion during the meeting. The Indian High Commissioner told the JUI-F chief that because India supported reconciliation in Afghanistan it had welcomed the Doha peace initiative.

Maulana Fazl said that Pakistan was directly affected by the situation in Afghanistan and urged all countries in the region, including India, to encourage the US to engage meaningfully in the Doha peace process.

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Comments (6)

June 28, 2013 1:34 pm

How about a visa office in Karachi and when will tourist visa will be granted because many of us want to explore india and spend our hard earned money to relax and unwind and get away from the family for a change .

June 28, 2013 3:00 pm

Peace is the only way forward for both countries. Poverty, illiteracy and corruption are the real problems of the people.

June 28, 2013 3:08 pm

You cannot trust Pakistani establishment. Right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Who cares what civilians think in Pakistan? Too much friendship with India will question the existence of Pakistani army. So they will stage another blast somewhere in India. Peace process will go back ten years.

Believe me, we do not want to do anything in Pakistan. You do not visit us, and we do not wish to visit you.

We want to move forward, you want to move backward.

June 28, 2013 5:48 pm

A secular, democratic, undivided and non-aligned Hind is best.

aslam minhas
June 28, 2013 10:32 pm

Why Indian government did not want to engage PPP's government? It is a question that President Zardari should ask his ex-ministers and above all ask himself!

June 29, 2013 12:10 am

A very big no to talks with Pakistan...We want to do nothing with Pakistan. I fail to understand our Sardarji's obsession with a country which has nothing but given trouble to outside world and on top of that they are full of arrogance. Pakistanis do not trust each other how can anyone trust them ?

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