The foreign ministers of Pakistan and India will meet in Islamabad next month to discuss the Kashmir dispute and review progress of the second round of the peace process between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Talks between Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and her Indian counterpart SM Krishna will be preceded by a meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries in July, said foreign ministry spokesperson Moazam Ali Khan.
“We don’t have the exact dates at the moment,” he told reporters at his weekly briefing on Thursday.
However, sources said that talks are expected to take place in the third week of July.
Since April last year, officials from Pakistan and India have had a series of engagements on issues such as Siachen, Sir Creek, trade and commerce, counter-terrorism and the longstanding dispute over Kashmir.
At their last meeting in New Delhi last year, the two foreign ministers announced several new Kashmir related Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).
In their upcoming talks, the foreign ministers will review the progress on all issues but no major breakthrough is expected over the Kashmir dispute.
While Pakistani officials insist that the composite dialogue must not be hostage to any single incident, India links the progress on Kashmir with Islamabad prosecuting suspects of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
India says it wants “satisfactory closure” of the Mumbai trial in order to proceed with the process of normalising ties.
In recent months, the peace process between the two neighbours has picked up momentum with increased exchanges at official and private levels.
President Asif Ali Zardari had used his private trip to New Delhi in April this year to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Meanwhile, the Indian premier is expected to visit Pakistan some time later this year to give further impetus to the composite dialogue.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2012.
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