Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna (R) and his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar (L) shake hands during a meeting in Islamabad — Photo by AFP
Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna (R) and his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar (L) shake hands during a meeting in Islamabad — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India vowed to improve their bilateral relations, as their foreign ministers agreed to move forward in normalising ties in a joint press conference held in Islamabad on Saturday.

The ministers spoke after both countries agreed to ease visa procedures, which introduce a number of measures “aimed at easing travel of business persons, tourists, pilgrims, elderly and children, thereby facilitating contacts between peoples of the two countries.”

The agreement was the culmination of a visit by Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna to Pakistan as part of a tentative peace process that froze after the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, killing 166 people.

India’s Minister for External Affairs S. M. Krishna spent two days in Islamabad, holding talks with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

“A step-by-step approach is what will take the relationship forward,” said FM Krishna.

The joint statement also referred to a “commitment” given by Pakistan last May to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice “expeditiously”.

“The Pakistani side reiterated its commitment to bring to justice all perpetrators of Mumbai attack expeditiously, in accordance with due process of law,” said Kishna.

Pakistan charged the seven men over the 2008 Mumbai attacks in 2009, but insists it needs to gather more evidence in India before proceeding further.

New Delhi has branded Pakistan’s attempts at prosecuting the alleged conspirators a “facade” and insists it has already handed over enough evidence to convict the accused.

Both ministers “reaffirmed the strong commitment of the two countries to fight terrorism in an effective and comprehensive manner so as to eliminate the scourge in all its forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.

“We will move forward... We will not be held hostage to history,” Khar told a joint news conference with Krishna.

“We must learn from the past and not miss any more opportunities. Pakistan is committed not to lose any opportunities. Pakistan is committed to creating new opportunities,” she said.

Khar cited Pakistan’s move to normalise trade ties with India as a strong message of its intentions to forge ahead towards an improved relationship.

“We are looking at India with a completely different mindset. When Pakistan decides to change a position it has held to for 40 years and liberalise trade ties with India, Pakistan is sending a very very strong message of being willing to forge ahead without being hostage to the past,” Khar said while addressing reporters.

Krishna, meanwhile, insisted that both countries must set their sights on the future, saying, “let us walk the talk together.”

“Let us not look back as you have rightly said, let us not be held hostage to whatever has happened earlier. I think we will have to keep our sight to the future,” he said.

Updated Sep 08, 2012 04:05pm

Comments (19) (Closed)


Azi
Sep 08, 2012 10:57pm
Only thing Positive to come out from PPP......
Shams Khan
Sep 08, 2012 11:33pm
I hope relations improve and none of the BUMPS (minor terroritic infractions by miscreants) derail progress...both sides must keep forging ahead with normalizing relations and respecting EACH OTHER'S SOVERIGNITY and showing good faith and sincerity. Each side must also understand (and they do) some political handicaps that they might have to overcome in the process. As some learned Indian political leaders have said " A Strong and Prosperous Pakistan is Vital for India's own prosperity".
g.a.shirazi
Sep 08, 2012 06:25pm
I am so happy to see the visa restrictions go away.
NASAH (USA)
Sep 09, 2012 12:36am
"Let us walk together" -- I would have preferred to hear that from the Pakistani FM -- there is still time.
TOXIC
Sep 08, 2012 07:08pm
It is a good move!
Raj
Sep 09, 2012 01:57am
NOTHING WILL COME OUT OF THIS VISIT ,,,,,, mis trust is too much ultimately India wants Pak to crumble into pieces so is the thought in Pakistan that India should crumble ...only time will Tell
mazharuddin
Sep 08, 2012 04:53pm
Both countries have large population with limited resources. Unfortunately powerful nations have captured vast lands and declared their territory. South Asia's people are not getting their due share in the world resources according to their population. The people of both countries are brave and hard working, should jointly struggle for their better future.
Sam
Sep 09, 2012 02:29am
Can someone explain why the two countries want to have good relation from now on ? All the factors that led to bad relation remains unchanged.
Indian
Sep 08, 2012 04:17pm
lets join hand togather, forget past and tell to world...we are not poor n third world....India+Pakistan+China+Japan+Korea......etc. 21 century belongs to Asia only..
Hina
Sep 09, 2012 03:37am
It is in the interest of Pakistan to have friendly relations with India. What is more important is that there should be an agreement for opening universities to all by both countries for admissions, making films jointly, exchanging cultural events, joint social gatherings in towns and organizing big events in all sector of manufacturing.
aqabdulaziz
Sep 09, 2012 02:50am
DPC, AQ sahab and Saeed Hafeez (Heros of Pakistan) will be very unhappy about this.
Madan
Sep 08, 2012 05:09pm
What a wonderful joint press conference by the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan.I hope the 'words` are followed by sincere actions.
aftabwilson
Sep 08, 2012 06:31pm
The smiles on the faces of both foreign ministers speaks volumes. The same smiles we want to see on the faces of people of both countries. I hope all goes well and this is the only wish of majority living on both sides of the border.
Arun
Sep 08, 2012 09:49pm
From someone from Mumbai, Hina Khar's statement that “We will move forward… We will not be held hostage to history" is very insensitive. Hina Khar's government has been foot dragging in prosecuting the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack. All that Pakistan does is play games, we bring up the Mumbai attack, she brings up Samjhauta - even though the two are hardly comparable. You don't fool anyone but yourself, Ms. Khar. Action, not talks please.
S. Israr Ali
Sep 09, 2012 04:00pm
It is after all a wonderful beginning. Both governments deserve appreciation. This is in the best interest of people live in sub-continent home to abou 1.8 billion people. There should emerge economic block on the pattern of GCC, EU or on the pattern of cooperation amongst states in a country like US. The area has drastically lagged behind due to madness of confrontation with benefits to none aggravating human miseries, poverty, famine, illiteracy, hunger and disease. The people of this area too have a right to live happily and with honour along with their fellow human persons elsewhere and contribute to world peace, harmony by at the sametime enjoying the happy pursuits of life. Conflicts could only bring death and destruction, miseries and sorrows, the people had remained reeled and suffered so far for nothing. Live and let live. No more hatred, fight or war mongering which has given nothing during last over six decades. Two generations have passed this world carrying hope in their heart, conditions between these countries will improve but left in despair. Now is the time to resolutely turn this despair into hope and start a new chapter of peace, prosperity and progress and bring smiles on the faces of people. The enjoyment one then feels is unique. Krishnaji and Hinaji did splendidly well under active guidance of their respective peers who being great men deserve appreciations. Let the smiles dance here in sub-continent also which is also the right of people living here.
a
Sep 09, 2012 12:04am
hopefully, this is positive step that will take us to better future
Ram
Sep 09, 2012 11:13am
It is diplomatic activity nothing more than
Syed A. Zafar USA
Sep 08, 2012 05:21pm
It is a walk to walk kat walk. Amazingly, Pakistan is being constantly fooled by India for decades, It does not come to the point of core issues which are the mother of all problems and cause of hatred between two nations. And Pakistan loves to dance on prescribed tunes. Nobody on both the sides seems sincere and willing to take a stand and not compromise on principles. Hello..Is there anybody serious. Opening visas for some chosen ones is nothing but playing games as usual with the real people of both the countries. In my opinion Pakistan should have a clear and firm policy on core issues which must not be compromised and played with and it should stay away with political gimmicks. However, extremism of both the sides, hatred for each other and wars are not the solution. India should realize that Pakistan has nothing left to lose and she will always be at stake even being a rising regional power. So it is not wise at all to continue the policy of "main naa maanoo policy" (do not agree policy) It is a principle of real estate/borders that the progression of a neighborhood depends on the progression of its neighborhood. In my opinion both countries must be sincere to resolve the issues, however I strongly believe that it all depends on India who seems playing might and mind set. Pakistan must be able to a stand first, till that time, it must keep building itself economically and politically, its leaders must be united and have one voice and one policy towards India and other neighboring countries and must stay away from time to time political circuses. zafarsyed40@yahoo.com
NASAH (USA)
Sep 09, 2012 12:30am
"Let us walk together," -- really, can India and Pakistan walk together?