Pakistan-India talks, a 'runaway success'

Radical confidence-building measures including easy travel and trade recommended.


Aditi Phadnis August 26, 2012

BIHAR: Being dubbed as a runaway success, the visit of a Pakistani delegation to India - ahead of the visit of Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna - was warmly welcomed by the Indian parliamentarians in Bihar.

Lawmakers from both sides recommended radical confidence-building measures including easy travel and trade across the border and visa-free access for educationists and senior citizens.

The Pakistani delegation held intense discussions with Indian parliamentarians led by senior leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) Yashwant Sinha and former foreign minister and Congress member Mani Shankar Aiyar.

Easy access

The members of the delegation suggested that both Pakistan and India should allow each others’ citizens to travel across the border in their own vehicles and should not be bound to report to police in order to avoid undue harassment. They also recommended visa-free access for those associated with the education sector and the senior citizens.

The recommendations further included the removal of ban imposed on news and entertainment channels and called for promotion of artists and media persons across the border.

The parliamentarians urged the two governments to quickly implement the trade-related agreements and finalise the details of trade of energy-related products.

Panic SMSes

Discussing the issue of fake SMSes allegedly emanating from Pakistan, the parliamentarians asked the Indian government to provide evidence for their claims.

Indian Home Secretary RK Singh had alleged that text messages and emails originating from Pakistan-based URLs had caused widespread panic among the people of North East India, causing them to migrate.

“Even if the hate mails were generated from Pakistan or not, the issue only emphasises the reasons why are we here in India; we are here to create a positive atmosphere,” MNA Khurram Dastagir said.

Responding to questions about Hindus from Pakistan crossing over to India due to alleged ill-treatment, Khan said: “As far as we know, no Pakistani Hindu has so far applied for political asylum here. The government is dealing with this problem and the Supreme Court has also taken note of it.”

Liberal visa regime

Welcoming the forthcoming meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in Islamabad from September 7 to 9, the parliamentarians stressed the need to sign the proposed liberal visa regime agreement during the meeting.

They also stated that the heath-related travel and religious tourism should also be made easier as early as possible.

The Pakistani and Indian lawmakers admitted that time was ripe to resolve long-standing disputes such as Siachen and Sir Creek.

Behind bars

The delegations agreed that prisoners who have completed their term should be sent back to their homeland immediately while asked for humanitarian treatment of fishermen and others who inadvertently cross into the territory or territorial waters of the other country.

Answering to a question regarding Sarabjeet Singh – an Indian prisoner in Pakistan jail, the delegates again repeated that those who have completed their jail term should be repatriated to their respective country at the earliest.

Commending the efforts of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Jahangir Badr and Senator Haji Adil invited him to visit Pakistan.

The delegation also visited Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, a major centre of the cultural heritage of the Indian subcontinent in particular and the Islamic world in general, of the mediaeval period. The members recalled the visit by Pakistani scholars, researchers, poets and authors like Ahmad Faraz, Intezar Husain, Fatima Hasan and Ayesha Jalal to this place.

COMMENTS (32)

Raj - USA | 8 years ago | Reply

@Komal S: Totally agree with you. Vajpayee took the first bold step and Yasvant Singh took it further. But the mindset in Pakistan that has been built up for over 60 years cannot be changed in one or two generations It would take 4-5 generations at least. However, on Pakistan's side Zardari is doing his best. Fauzia Wahab also tried her best. But Zardari has lot of opposition in Pakistan and from many within his own Party.

Hedgefunder | 8 years ago | Reply @Babloo: Looks like India has failed to learn its lessons from last 65 years of Pak conduct, The problem is that India has got one of the weekest Govt in its history, hence this chaos ! This bunch of misfits who are in coalition are simply there for their own self interests, nothing more ! Its time India had an Majority Govt with strong mandate to deal with domestic and international policies .
VIEW MORE COMMENTS
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ