Dawn News

Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna, left, shakes hand with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar.—AP Photo
Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna, left, shakes hand with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar.—AP File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India are likely to sign the long-awaited new visa regime during a visit by Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to Islamabad next week.

Mr Krishna will attend a review meeting of the peace dialogue and co-chair the plenary session of the India-Pakistan Joint Commission.

“The Minister for External Affairs of India will be visiting Pakistan on 7-9 Sept for holding review meeting with the foreign minister at her invitation,” the Foreign Office announced on Friday.

The meeting of foreign ministers will be preceded by talks at the foreign secretaries’ level. Officials of foreign ministries of the two countries will lay the ground work for the ministers.

Diplomatic sources said the Pakistani side was eagerly looking forward to signing the new visa agreement during Mr Krishna’s visit.

The agreement was finalised at a meeting of interior secretaries in May, but its signing was held up at the last minute because of opposition by Interior Minister Rehman Malik who insisted that it should be initialled at the political level.

Postponement of the signing during Indian Home Secretary R.K. Singh’s visit left Indian officials baffled. A joint statement issued after the talks between the interior secretaries welcomed the finalisation of the agreement and noted that it would be signed “at an early date”.

The excuse from the Pakistani side for delaying the signing was that “some internal approvals are under process and the agreement will be signed once they are in place”.

The new visa regime will, for the first time, include group tourist visa, visa on arrival for senior citizens and children and year-long multiple entry visa for businessmen.

“The two ministers will also co-chair the plenary of the India-Pakistan Joint Commission to be held in Islamabad on Sept 8,” the FO statement said.

The commission is meeting after five years. It was revived in 2005 after a decade and a half and was again suspended in 2008 because of the Mumbai attacks.

The foreign ministers’ meeting follows a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday in Tehran on the sidelines of NAM summit.

The Tehran meeting was the second between the two leaders this year.

During the meeting, Mr Zardari noted that both the countries had made lot of progress towards normalising their ties.

Comments (64) Closed

Jamil Husain
Sep 04, 2012 02:38am
I agree.
Noor Chaudhry from Canada
Sep 01, 2012 05:40am
good luck for the senior citizen of both countries.
Sep 02, 2012 02:47am
i love you....
Gerry D'Cunha
Sep 01, 2012 08:53am
In 65 years of Independent of both countries, how many agreements were made and broken. Lets see how long will this last
Sep 01, 2012 02:05pm
Negative attitude is part of bigotry. Live in the past and do not wake up to future is the name of jungle law> Living in fools paradise is also not part of present day. Be positive and you will have chicken briyani for lunch. Eat it while it tests good.
Sep 01, 2012 01:46pm
Yeah!. Terrorists stood in line for a visa before entering the country.
Sep 01, 2012 07:51am
All citizens, please.
zia khan
Sep 01, 2012 01:22pm
Exactly, nothing more than a photo session.
Sep 02, 2012 07:37am
Look at the contrast in facial expressions of both !!
Sep 01, 2012 12:21pm
Congratulations to both sides. Very good news. Pace may be slower that what is desired but as long as we are moving ahead rather than back its encouraging.
Sep 02, 2012 07:24am
why not India and Pakistan become one country agian?
Sep 02, 2012 07:20am
They will be treated like Pakistani citizens.
Sep 02, 2012 03:24am
indians never intrested that pakistanis visit india bcoz when pakistanis easily come in any country they spread terarrism
Sep 03, 2012 11:11am
Very Dangerous for Indian security
Khurram Khalid
Sep 01, 2012 02:11pm
Let us hope it comes through.
Sep 01, 2012 09:17am
Another useless and resultless meeting by both countries...& plans for another drama meeting
Sep 02, 2012 08:40am
that will be so great to be one big country
Sep 03, 2012 05:46pm
The above comment depicts a sense of negative feel, which one can easily make out, who will have more headaches, we all know it. It works both ways!!! . Instead moving forward in a congenial way, some people still have hate rate and hostile thinking process.
Sep 02, 2012 06:57am
Sorry,nothing is going to change as Indian Consulates in USA are very rigid and tough in giving Visit Visa to US citizens with Pakistan background in-spite of visiting India previously on different occasions
Sep 03, 2012 05:41pm
The above comment depicts a sense of negative feel, which one can easily make out, who will have more headaches, we all know it. It works both ways!!! . Instead moving forward in a congenial way, some people across the border still have hate rate and hostile thinking process.
Sep 01, 2012 08:37am
please kindly add here multiple and on arrival visa for families who has lived in both countries
Sep 01, 2012 05:21pm
The only good development during the PPP tenure. Great achievement by Zardari sb.
A Pakistani
Sep 01, 2012 07:25am
Good news.we should make peace with each other and stop fighting.
Sep 02, 2012 08:50am
Culturally, Pakistani and Indians are of the same origin and that the partition of the Indian sub-continent has been a strategic blunder.
Akil Akhtar
Sep 03, 2012 04:55am
Wrong, every state in the subcontinent speaks a different language and the culture also changes every few hundred kilometers so what similar Origin are you talking about. What does a Pathan from the North has in common with someone from Tamil Nadu...or a Punjabi with a Bengali?
Sep 02, 2012 06:36pm
This step of visa liberalisation is welcomed but a strict watch will have to be kept by the Indian Govt particularly on the business people who enjoy multiple enteries in India under the new scheme and terrorists don't enter India in the garb of business people from Pakistan.In the other words the business people from Pakistan should not be disguised as wolves in the sheeps clothings.
Sep 04, 2012 03:44am
I hope they have some concessions on the spouse visa too. Its a nightmare to go reporting to various police stations in every city visited
muhammad khurram
Sep 04, 2012 03:27am
inshallah if india and pakistan good friends both countries will be richest countries in world may be earn ten billion dollar tourist income every year
Juzar Noorani
Sep 07, 2012 01:37pm
Its a lie believe me. The officers concerned about security issues themselves know that anyone intending mischief would never apply for a visa and follow legal procedures. The current hardline visa regime is just a gimmick which both governments know to the highest extent.
p r sharma
Sep 01, 2012 10:37am
positive steps- Multiple entry visa for businessman shall work effectively only when the trade barriers between the countries are removed, Pakistan should give MFN status to India for trading at the earliest . ( India has already given this status to Pakistan to long back)
Sep 01, 2012 07:30pm
ahhahhahah looks who is talking ?
SMN, Karachi
Sep 03, 2012 06:04am
Cant believe,
Sep 02, 2012 12:48pm
Of course you do
Sep 04, 2012 04:34am
Indians see Pakistanis as potential security threats...and also,as carriers of Islamic fundamentalism...we don't want Pakistanis to visit us too much!
Naresh Sharma
Sep 03, 2012 04:15am
We dont want to become one country... We are happily living they way we are now...
Imran Turk
Sep 02, 2012 09:05am
lets keep our fingers crossed
Ahmed Khan
Sep 01, 2012 07:06pm
Oh for God's sake, Shehkar! I did not realize that there is such a paranoia in India and fear about "possible" terrorism! with relucatnce to normalize relations you are encouraging and indirectly supporting the extremists on both sides of the border!
Sep 03, 2012 11:51pm
I am an Indian. I think this is a great intiative.Security concerns are misplaced in this context. No terrorist would apply for visa to come to India ( especially when we have such a long porus border and poorly monitored west coast. ) . This move will foster Cultural , Trade and Educational ties between peace loving citizens of both the countries. Cautiously hopeful for outcome or as sahir put it " Wo subah kabhi to aayegi ".
p kumar
Sep 02, 2012 08:15am
they may have to transit via nepal or bangladesh
Sep 01, 2012 04:07pm
i dnt think they (Mumbai attacker) aplayed for visa!!
Sep 01, 2012 05:41pm
These two governments dance the reversed, Desi version of Tango - one step forward and two steps back. I would appreciate it if the Pakistani delegates grin a little less. It makes them look childish and desperate in front of their Indian counterparts who are all business like and serious.
Sep 01, 2012 09:55pm
another useless agreement, nothing has done to relief common citizens. only politicians, business icons, celebrities will enjoy nothing else.
Sep 01, 2012 09:53pm
India has an open border with Nepal......Why can't we Pakistanis have the same or its these illiterate mullahs that always are willing to kill anything that does not fit their version of being human , Islam is all about Love and tolerance its not about growing beards.....If this visa free agreement does actually materialize then it will be the only good thing that came out of PPP.
Sep 02, 2012 11:01am
One should be careful about what one wishes for.Pakistan was created among a great deal of positive hopes and nothing came out of it. What makes you think that India will have anything to gain at all with a huge radicalized Muslim population added to the current Muslim population in India?
Raoul Ciao
Sep 01, 2012 06:30am
good news.....finally some progress....
Pankaj Patel(USA)
Sep 01, 2012 09:49pm
Will be disastrous for India.I hope Indian leadership understands the pitfall.
Sep 02, 2012 04:57am
Hello Shekhar, they came in a rubber dinghy and did not get to apply for a visa ................ :-) Get over it and move forward!
Sep 01, 2012 07:01am
Just as long the Taliban or the Lashkar e Toiba are not issued visas!
Sharif from London
Sep 01, 2012 07:11am
First of all Indian FM must talk on the worst issues of Hindus living in PK, the forcible change of religion is really showing the mean mentality of these Pakistanis
Sep 03, 2012 08:16pm
Jaihoon, I am a pakistani and i fully agree with you.
Sep 01, 2012 07:22am
can only be dangerous for India, in view of Mumbai attack
Sep 01, 2012 08:54pm
My wife and me both seniors are excited at the prospects of visiting our parents and gran parents village after all these years.
Juzar Noorani
Sep 07, 2012 01:34pm
Agree. There should be relaxation on visas for spouses. Its a nightmare for families and children. Marriage is a bond of love and caring, what else would be more stronger in building confidence and strong ties.
Sep 01, 2012 07:09pm
can we just settled with cabinet mission plan? it was an amazing plan to eliminate communal riots and live togather like Unites States of South Asia (including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Pakistan)?
Fazal Karim
Sep 03, 2012 06:20am
The present train, bus and air modes of transports between India and Pakistan will not be able to manage large travellers between the two countries. In addition to train link at Khokrapar , road link should be established. Also ferry system between Karachi and Bombay should be started immediately.
SMN, Karachi
Sep 03, 2012 06:09am
A new era of friendship will follow,leading to resolution of core Kashmir issue.
p kumar
Sep 02, 2012 08:18am
hina studied in US; in the west people use more facial expression thats it.i have to agree though that the intelligence agency of one country will be delighted and that of the other will get a headache.
Cyrus Howell
Sep 01, 2012 05:11pm
Trust everyone, but cut the deck of cards.
(Dr.) B.N. Anand
Sep 01, 2012 06:19pm
Sir, very happy to learn that the new visa rules will have the benefit of allowing senior citizens to travel to avail of availability of visa on arrival. I shall surely like to visit Punjab University, at Lahore to see where our teachers and the Nobel Laureate Professor Hargobind Khorana once studied. Beside this, I may have a chance to visit our birth place. A very nostalgic feeling. Hope the conditions are not too rigid. BNA
Sep 03, 2012 02:31am
Jinnah had his chance and gathered his folks and created Pakistan which has essentially blew it and his dream country has turned into a epicenter of terrorism and spite of all the countries around the world.
Ali Vaqar Awan
Sep 01, 2012 08:34pm
Pakistan and India need to have visa free travel as its within Europian Union.Moreover, it will help people from both countries to strengthen friendship. In the end its hard visa conditions that deprive both Pakistani and Indian to visit each others country. In this scenario new visa regime is still not that flexible but its just worth peanuts. Other factor that is causing drawback is mubai incident. It will take great deal of effort and miracle to make things back to best.
Sep 01, 2012 08:46pm
Unfortunately I share the same views :(
Syed HUsain
Sep 01, 2012 09:17pm
How about US citizens , who 's previous nationality is pakistani.
Sep 03, 2012 05:52am
may peace prevail. hoping for better bilateral relations.