ISLAMABAD: By the end of day one of the foreign secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India in Islamabad, the two countries have decided on eight different categories for visas, geo.tv reported on Friday.
The visa categories include diplomatic, non-diplomatic, 36-hour transit visit, tourist, civil society, media and business.
The delegates met at the Foreign Office in Islamabad to discuss the visa regime.
According to the geo.tv report, the tourist visa will be limited to five destinations and will be valid for a period of six months, while the diplomatic visa category will offer visas to the consular, the consular mission and their family members.
The new Pakistan-India visa issuance policy is expected to be signed on Saturday.
Visas for cricket fans?
Pakistan’s cricket chief on Friday urged the visiting Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna to ensure fans would get visas so they can see the first series between the two countries in five years.
India has invited Pakistan to play three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 games in December-January.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said its chairman Zaka Ashraf met Krishna in Islamabad to discuss travel arrangements for the series.
“Ashraf requested Krishna for the support of the Indian government to facilitate in the issuance of Indian visas for the Pakistani fans wanting to watch the Pakistan-India series this year,” a PCB press release said.
Stable, prosperous Pakistan
Indian Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna said on Friday that India wants to see Pakistan as a stable and prosperous state, Radio Pakistan reported.
Responding to questions, Krishna said a positive change is visible in Pakistan-India relations.
“The two countries are heading in a right direction,” he said, reminding that all issues cannot be resolved at once.
Commenting on the issues of Siachen‚ Sir Creek and trade between the two countries‚ Krishna said India and Pakistan are moving forward in a gradual manner.
He assured that the dialogues held between the foreign secretaries of the two countries were positive.
Zardari for substantive results in Pak-India talks
President Asif Ali Zardari met Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Friday and assured him that Pakistan has abiding interest in the promotion of regional peace and stability that would enable people of the region to exploit opportunities available in South Asia, said a press release.
The president said that finding amicable and just solutions to resolve outstanding issues was important for both Pakistan and India.
According to Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar, the president emphasised that it was time for the two countries to move beyond reiteration of their positions to more substantive results and show greater understanding of each others’ concerns and sensitivities.
President Zardari said that multifaceted cooperation between the two countries was imperative for the socio-economic development of the people and to cope with the common challenge of terrorism, and that terrorism was a common enemy afflicting both the countries.
Indian External Affairs Minister said that his country desired good relations with Pakistan and wanted to work together in coping with the common challenges and issues.
Krishna calls Ashraf
Krishna also called on Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and discussed bilateral relations. They exchanged views on continuation of peace process between the two countries.
The Indian Minister for External Affairs had arrived in Pakistan early on Friday for a three-day visit to review progress on bilateral relations on all the issues.
He was received at the Chaklala Air Base by officials of Foreign Office, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir and other high officials.
Formal bilateral talks between Krishna and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar are due to be held on Saturday.
“India is committed to rebuilding its relations with South Asian nuclear-armed rival Pakistan through dialogue,” Krishna had said.
“We are committed to finding solutions to all issues that have beset our relationships, through bilateral dialogue,” Krishna had told reporters after arriving in Islamabad.
“I bring a message of goodwill from India to the people of Pakistan. I wish to reiterate the desire of India to see a stable and prosper Pakistan living in peace,” Krishna had said.
His visit comes after substantive progress has already been made on the trade and commerce front between Pakistan and India, and could lay the groundwork for an even higher-level visit: that of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Prior to his departure from India, SM Krishna, in an interview to The Express Tribune, had stressed that India wants Islamabad as a strong and stable “partner” – and pointed out that Pakistan’s geographical location puts it in an ideal position to be a bridge between South and Central Asia.