ISLAMABAD, Nov 25: Pakistan and India on Tuesday agreed to boost cooperation between their civilian investigation agencies to control cross-border terrorism, illegal immigration, influx of fake currency and liberalise the visa regime under a joint anti-terrorism mechanism.

Officials of the interior ministry said the decisions were taken during the composite dialogue, which reviewed proposals by President Asif Ali Zardari for a treaty to make South Asia a non-nuclear region and an economic hub.

It was the fifth round of home secretary-level talks. The Indian side was represented by Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta and Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah represented Pakistan.

The two sides agreed for the first time to stop blaming each other for any untoward incident without evidence.

Under the joint anti-terrorism mechanism, a two-member committee has been formed, comprising additional foreign secretaries of the two sides. The committee will exchange information about terrorists.

The agreement on an anti-terrorism mechanism is being considered a big step for improvement of relations.

The resolve to enhance cooperation between their civilian investigation and security agencies — Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) — is another significant achievement made during the talks.

A meeting of the two investigation agencies would be held soon, sources said.

The FIA and the CBI would formulate a joint strategy to control influx of fake currency and curb human smuggling, Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah said.

Both sides agreed to install biometric system at all entry and exit points to stop illegal immigration.

The sources said the two sides agreed to implement recommendations of the Pakistan India Judicial Commission for release and exchange of prisoners.

Pakistan expressed concern over the way some of the recently released Pakistani prisoners had been treated.

The Indian side claimed that Daud Ibrahim, one of the most-wanted persons in India, was in Pakistan. However, the claim was denied by Pakistani side, which said India should give specific evidence about his presence.

The Indian team also sought the release of Indian spy

Sarbajeet Singh, who is on death row.

Meanwhile, Kamal Shah asked his Indian counterpart to apprise Pakistan about investigations into the Samjhota Express blast. Information about the involvement of the Indian Army’s Lt-Col P.S. Purohit in the attack was also sought.

The agenda for Wednesday’s session includes Indian cricket team’s tour of Pakistan. India has expressed reservations over the scheduled visit, but Islamabad has assured New Delhi of the “best possible security” to the team.

The Pakistan side also said cancellation of the tour could harm efforts to normalise relations.

The sources said the two sides also exchanged lists of wanted criminals.


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