ISLAMABAD: The foreign ministers of the neighbouring countries, meeting at the foreign office in Islamabad in an effort to improve bilateral relations, reached an agreement of making the visa regime more lenient, Express News reported on Saturday.
(Read the new visa regime here)
The much-awaited foreign level talks between Pakistan and India commenced on Saturday at the Foreign Office with a view to review the last one-and-half-year progress on bilateral relations on all disputed issues.
The new visa regime agreement was signed by Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
“We will move forward… We will not be held hostage to history,” Khar told a joint news conference with Krishna after signing the agreement.
“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 said that the two sides have reiterated their commitment to Indus Basin Water Treaty. “Pakistan has invited India to look at the possibility of improving the implementation mechanism of the treaty,” she remarked.
“Pakistan is committed not to losing any opportunity and to creating new opportunities,” she said and added that the two countries have made progress during the last one year because of their engagements at all levels.
The foreign minister assured that by the end of this year, Pakistan will do trade with India like it does with other countries of the world.
Krishna also expressed satisfaction over the progress achieved in the ongoing talks between the two countries and said that both the sides have agreed to fight terrorism in an effective manner.
“They (Pakistan and India) are cognisant that there is a long way to go, and the path will not be easy but they are committed to moving forward in order to writing a new chapter of peace and cooperation in their relationship,” the Indian minister said.
According to the new visa regime, more concessions have been given to the businessmen from both the countries with giving them multiple entry one year visa with the exemption from the Police Report and with increasing the number of cities.
As per the agreement, big investors and traders will be given 3-year multiple visas and a 6-month transit visa while smaller investors and traders will be given a 1-year multiple visa.
Earlier, the two foreign ministers held one-on-one meeting before the start of the delegation level talks.
Krishna held meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in Islamabad on Friday and discussed a whole range of issues including confidence building measures.