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India-Pak Home Secy-level talks to start tomorrow

India-Pak Home Secy-level talks to start tomorrow

New Delhi: A 12-member delegation, led by Home Secretary R K Singh, today left for Pakistan for the Home Secretary-level talks beginning tomorrow where a relaxed visa regime is expected to be inked apart from New Delhi pressing for action against perpetrators of the 26/11 attack.

The broad agenda of the two-day talks would focus on terrorism, fugitives from Indian law like underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who are believed to be hiding in Pakistan, narcotics, fake Indian currency notes and humanitarian issues including Indian fishermen and civilians in Pakistan jails.

The visit comes in the backdrop of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to India on April 8 during which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had stressed the need for Pakistan to take firm action to curb terrorism to enable India to make forward movement in the bilateral relationship.

The Prime Minister had also asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice and prevent activities aimed against India from Pakistani soil.

"These continue to be our priorities," Home Secretary Singh said before leaving for Islamabad.

The government had informed the Lok Sabha yesterday that there are approximately 42 terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and majority of these camps are reported to be active.

The last round of Home Secretary-level talks was held in New Delhi in March 2011. The New Delhi joint statement had identified cooperation in the areas of counter terrorism, progress in bringing the fugitives of the Mumbai terrorist attack case to justice and a revised bilateral visa agreement as some of the priorities.

The new visa agreement will introduce the concept of group tourist visa, visa on arrival and a separate category of business visas. The Union Cabinet had given its nod for signing the agreement on April 25.

The pact will benefit people of both the countries as it will facilitate multiple-entry and reporting-free visas for businessmen, allowing them to visit five cities instead of three as at present, exempt elderly people from police reporting, allowing common people from either country to visit three earmarked cities instead of one and introducing visa on arrival facility at Wagah for senior citizens and children.

The Indian delegation will discuss on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) along Line of Control (LoC) and press for action from Pakistan to bring the Mumbai attack perpetrators, including JuD chief Hafiz Saeed to justice, and speedy trial in a Pakistani court of seven 26/11 accused like Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, official sources said.

New Delhi will also ask Islamabad the fate of the dossiers on the most wanted, believed to be hiding in the neighbouring country, given by it and ask for voice samples of handlers of 26/11 attackers. Pakistan may ask the progress into the Samjhauta Express blast case in which majority of the 68 victims were Pakistanis, they said.

The delegation includes Intelligence Bureau Director Nehchal Sandhu, National Investigation Agency chief S C Sinha and officials from Home and External Affairs Ministries and CBI.


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