India-Pakistan reach agreement on lenient visa regime

Published: September 8, 2012
Email
Foreign Minister Khar says both countries have reiterated their commitment to Indus Basin Water Treaty.  PHOTO: REUTERS

Foreign Minister Khar says both countries have reiterated their commitment to Indus Basin Water Treaty. PHOTO: REUTERS

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.

_____________________________________________

Do you think a liberal visa regime will help improve relations between Pakistan and India?

     View Results


Polls are non-scientific, reflect only the online audience and can be manipulated.
 Loading ...

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (49)

  • Ahmad Shah
    Sep 8, 2012 - 4:08PM

    some Positive news!!!!at last

    Recommend

  • M Usama Kabbir
    Sep 8, 2012 - 4:20PM

    Well done PPP Government ! We need to improve relations with India and give our over ambitious Generals a Shut-Up call.Recommend

  • PRAVIN KARKHANIS
    Sep 8, 2012 - 4:33PM

    Eventually, the persons at the helm of affairs ,from both the countries ,having read the writings on the Walls , agreed to relax visa formalities . So we can say ,,,,,,,The Sunny days are coming again !

    Recommend

  • Lost
    Sep 8, 2012 - 4:40PM

    On Spot visa should be given to anyone having european or US vida as is done in Turkey

    Recommend

  • sunil bhalla
    Sep 8, 2012 - 4:43PM

    Now even we will see lahore, Pakistan we are coming! I belong to hindu family that has pakistani bhawalpur blood. My land, i will come soon to kiss you.

    Recommend

  • SaneVoice
    Sep 8, 2012 - 5:22PM

    I am Tourist but not a Terrorist. Bravo Indo-Pak.

    Recommend

  • Malik
    Sep 8, 2012 - 5:27PM

    Bismillah. As long as there are atrocities and Indian army continues to squat on my brother’s land in Kashmir, I can not get warm and cozy with Hindus. I am also taken back by sister Hina Rabbani Khar’s handshaking, Muslim women don’t go around shaking hands with men that they are not married to. I know that it is a small tenet of our sunnah and Khar is our modern day ambassador to the world. What’s next bowing to the Chinese or Japanese? And neither am of the opinion or mode of being one who friends Indians abroad because we share similar culture, cuisine, or a past back home. Allahu Akbar *3.

    Recommend

  • nitish
    Sep 8, 2012 - 5:33PM

    who cares?

    Recommend

  • Mian Adnan
    Sep 8, 2012 - 5:43PM

    @sunil bhalla: We welcome you from the core of our heart Brother Sunil.. Come and visit your land… “Jee Aayaan Noo!”

    Recommend

  • Polpot
    Sep 8, 2012 - 5:55PM

    @Malik: ” Muslim women don’t go around shaking hands with men that they are not married to”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    So is Ms Khar guilty of blasphemy?

    Recommend

  • Butt
    Sep 8, 2012 - 6:11PM

    @Malik: You are better off staying in the barracks.
    Well done Pakistan and India.

    Recommend

  • majid qadir baloch
    Sep 8, 2012 - 6:30PM

    this initiative was must be taken after the establishment of both countries, we did too late for smoothing our relations with India. now we go ahead and will do such agreement that would be beneficial for both countries.

    Recommend

  • Jat
    Sep 8, 2012 - 6:48PM

    The Congress government is trying to appease and get votes from a particular minority, at the cost of our country’s security. Shame on them !

    Recommend

  • Malik
    Sep 8, 2012 - 6:49PM

    @Polpot: My opinion Most likely. Rabina Khar a Muslim by definition, proudly represents my sisters of Pakistan, and I would rather see a little less of her needing to shake hands for photo ops. Yes Yes, I know we all love all the wizardy of pictures. “It is not permissible for a man who believes in Allaah and His Messenger to put his hand in the hand of a women who is not permissible for him or who is not one of his mahrams. Whoever does that has wronged himself (i.e., sinned).” Quite simply it is our inherent custom since birth. الله أعلم or الله العالم،.

    Recommend

  • Manjit singh
    Sep 8, 2012 - 6:52PM

    Visa on entry to the elders is best point of this agreement . At least this should have happened 50 years ago. Two generations have gone with a dream unfulfilled to visit the land of their birth!

    Recommend

  • M. Salim
    Sep 8, 2012 - 7:00PM

    Sanity prevails. Divided families have been deprived of their near and dear ones by the establishment for painfully too long

    Recommend

  • Amar
    Sep 8, 2012 - 7:26PM

    I read the Times of India report about ease of visa restrictions, i went to down to the comments sections, and there were lots and lots of negative comments from Indians towards Pakistanis calling them terrorists. I completely disagree with that, i want more civilian Pakistanis to visit India to understand we can be friends Hindus & Sikhs are not the enemy of Pakistan. I want Indians to understand that Pakistanis themselves have been victims of terrorism.

    Recommend

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Sep 8, 2012 - 7:59PM

    @ Malik,

    You and your ilk can stay in the stone-age. Vast majority wants peace, good relations, stop in export of terrorism, open borders cultural and business exchange and a resolution to all issues.

    We are getting there and your types are getting more irrelevant by the day !

    Recommend

  • Desh Premi
    Sep 8, 2012 - 8:04PM

    Its shows magnanimity and confidence of India to go ahead and get the liberal visa process signed off. Lets hope for the best!!

    Recommend

  • Indian
    Sep 8, 2012 - 8:27PM

    Can anyone tell me how will Indian’s benefit from this? You get into an agreement when both parties are benefitted from each other.What has Pakistan to offer to India when it survives altoghter with foriegn aid?Recommend

  • skrenata
    Sep 8, 2012 - 8:51PM

    Well done India and Pakistan.
    I couldn’t suppress my tears on reading comments by @sunil bhalla and @Mian Adnan

    @sunil bhalla Bhai aap ke liye ham apni aankhen bichhatay hain. Most Welcome.

    Recommend

  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 8, 2012 - 9:25PM

    @Malik: Please enlighten yourself with the black September in Jordan and see what your president Zia ul Haq did to your Palestinian brother and sister. For slaughtering them he was rewarded with money, Mercedes and ultimately Presidency of the Country. Also all suicide bombers kill people in Masjid and crowded places are also your brother and sister in faith. It will be better if you talk about human rights and not about the religion of those humans.

    Recommend

  • Desh Premi
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:01PM

    @Indian:
    This Question of what India gains..is myopic view of today’s event. Signing of new Visa procedures is one step towards normalisation of relationship between India & Pakistan. India will have to normalise its relationship with all neighbours if it wants to rightfully gain prominent place in international diplomatic, political and economic sphere, which all Indians are dreaming for. Without normalising relationship, our own economic growth will be stunted ( as we will constantly engaged in military build-up, anti-terror set-up etc), no one in international arena would take us seriously..if we wish to play major diplomatic role world over or even in South Asia. above all this generation of we Indians have a responsibility towards our children to ensure their bright, happier , prosperous future. These gains will be measured not in immediate terms, but a long term ..accruing not just to indians but also all our neighbours.

    Recommend

  • Pea Brain
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:05PM

    @Malik:
    Sweetheart,
    Can you read the overwhelmingly positive response by everyone. Read it, and read it again. People like yourself are losing majority on both sides of the border. All we say is give peace a chance, and it’s about time. Recommend

  • Enlightened
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:54PM

    This is a major step towards improving relations between the two countries. I would personally like to visit Lahore and also Chakwal where my parents lived but had to leave before partition.

    Recommend

  • G. Din
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:23PM

    @Desh Premi:
    “@Indian:
    This Question of what India gains..is myopic view of today’s event. “

    Agreed!
    “India will have to normalise its relationship with all neighbours if it wants to rightfully gain prominent place in international diplomatic, political and economic sphere, which all Indians are dreaming for. “
    “Prominent places in international etc., etc.” are transitory in nature. Many civilizations have come and then receded into oblivion. Our own has gone through several such cycles. So, should we appease others to go for such ephemeral gains?
    “Without normalising relationship, our own economic growth will be stunted ( as we will constantly engaged in military build-up, anti-terror set-up etc)”
    No, it will not. Military build-up/anti-terror set up vis-a-vis Pakistan does not put any perceptible burden on Indian economy. (This is not going to sit well with Pakistani self-puffery.)
    “… no one in international arena would take us seriously..if we wish to play major diplomatic role world over or even in South Asia. “
    India is one of the four or six major powers (depending on how one defines “power”) of the world today. Agreement or disagreement with Pakistan has not affected, does not and will not affect that status. World did not wait to recognize our rising stature due to or in spite of Pakistani approval or disapproval.
    “These gains will be measured not in immediate terms, but a long term ..accruing not just to indians but also all our neighbours. “
    As mentioned, it does not make an iota of a difference to our circumstance. Does it do so for Pakistan, is a question Pakistanis have to ask themselves.
    Having said so, the question we should be asking is why we are taking this step? Answer to that is or should be: Because it is the right thing to do, to live in harmony with our ambiance to the extent we are able to.
    Does it/will it fulfill that expectation? Only Time will tell!

    Recommend

  • pradeep
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:47PM

    First of all, Congrats to everyone, Good that VISA norms are eased,These baby steps will definitely pave way for giants strides some day. Those who bashes each other countries will continue to fret and fume so let them have that pleasure and we all celebrate this new dawn in relationship.
    Somebody told me that there is proverb in Punjabi which says something like this
    “Jinne Lahore nahi vekhya wo janma hi nahi”
    So now we got opportunity to visit Lahore (Hurrah !!!!) . I hope one day I
    can visit it though i dont have any ancestral link to Pakistan but feel great
    affinity to people and nation of
    pakistan. Time to look for Tourist book of Pakistan :)

    A BIG THANKS to Zardari Ji and Manmohan Singh Ji.

    Recommend

  • Desh Premi
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:02AM

    @G. Din:
    India to become super power ..to matter in real terms, will mean clout and acceptability. India has lost leadership position and cannot aim to be leader in future or even developed power..On all economic development parameters we have lots of distance to travel. All your observations are stemming from mind set..deeply entrenched in past events!! It would be short sighted and major tactical error in thinking, if we think we can develop without having normal peaceful relationship with neighbours. India’s energy is drained on defence/ police forces..did u see Current Budget deficit is growing rapidly..and India’s ratings is dropping? had we maintained good relations..our defence budget cud have been curtailed and transferred to primary education, health , IITs/ IIMs. India has no choice but to go ahead and build bridges with neighbours, so that trade can prosper..and our workers/ scientists can earn forex by exporting to neighbours. Our exports has fallen dramatically last Q..by whopping 15%. See the pathetic performance of IT cos ..like Infosys/ TCS/ Mahindra-Satyam etc. Shutting eyes and dreaming..basking in glory of reports of some Banks Financial institutions about leadership position of BRICS nations in 2020s..etc will turn out to be mirage, if we don’t make right decisions now.Kudos to India and Pakistan to move ahead.

    Recommend

  • sick of this nonsense
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:29AM

    i can bet you a million dollars this picture is going to be shared in the social media with the title “our women shaking hand with hindus” or “women before *full burqa and women now *shaking hands.” and they will get million likes and comments. however ill face palm myself some other day when i read that, this is positive news.

    Recommend

  • G. Din
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:21AM

    @Desh Premi:
    ” It would be short sighted and major tactical error in thinking, if we think we can develop without having normal peaceful relationship with neighbours. “
    Living “in harmony with our ambiance to the extent we are able to” means “having normal peaceful relationship with neighbours”. So what do you find objectionable in my comment? Surely, you don’t think appeasing Pakistan is the way to go? Let us deal with each other in the manner of mature adults with mutual respect. Then, everything will fall in place. We live or die on our own. India has not, does not and will not allow any one to hold a veto on its sovereign rights. India is not a hegemonic power nor will it accept hegemony or blackmail from any one else!

    Recommend

  • IceSoul
    Sep 9, 2012 - 3:22AM

    I swear I was waiting for someone to say something about the handshake. Thank You Mr Malik! On a more serious note, efforts by both India and Pak to move forward with their relationship must be appreciated and encourage!

    Recommend

  • Sep 9, 2012 - 4:06AM

    @sunil bhalla:

    We and our legendary big hearted hospitality welcome you and all from your country with open arms.

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:18AM

    @Indian:

    “What has Pakistan to offer to India when it survives altoghter with foriegn aid?”

    Sorry to be a cynic. I see no benefit for India unless and until the Pakistani Deep State gives up is policy of use of terrorism as a foreign policy tool. It has been four years since the Mumbai massacre, yet Pakistan is still not serious about convicting the perpetrators.

    Recommend

  • SHAHID BUTT
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:23AM

    @Malik:
    i agree with you but think out of the BOX. GOD may help you.

    Recommend

  • SHAHID BUTT
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:28AM

    @Indian:
    You do not have to give us foreign aid. Just trade. That is your benefit.

    Recommend

  • S
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:44AM

    I am also appalled by her shaking hands, what r we trying to tell the world we are not Muslims? we are some secular country? Pathetic, i am losing my loyalty and luv for Pakistan

    Recommend

  • Schabboo Khan
    Sep 9, 2012 - 6:04AM

    @Malik:
    Now here is a question for you: are Muslims allowed to have Hindu relatives let alone shake hands with them, because Mr. Malik with that name you were definitely a Hindu only a few generations ago.

    Recommend

  • Mr X from Bombay
    Sep 9, 2012 - 6:30AM

    Very good first step. Next and most important milestone is to eradicate extremist who induce constant fear in society in name of religon. It should be made a capital punishment for anybody and any institute which is involved in hate crimes and which preaches, influences and supports violence. That will be a single most greates achievement for both India and Pakistan

    Recommend

  • Sep 9, 2012 - 10:04AM

    Happy to see the news “PEACE” is the main concern at this stage of the world not only Ind-Pak but through out the world everyone should respect to other religions and make happy to others as well in whole world if you can.

    Recommend

  • Sabah Aslam
    Sep 9, 2012 - 10:16AM

    Though its a good step but as far as the strategic partnershaleip is concerned it seems to be in stalemate. The new visa thing has two important points (a). This is a good opportunity to further the in light friendly relations if the problematic factors of both societies kept quite,
    (b). Dispite the visa thing the relations are still in a see.saw, anything can be expected from both counterparts as the are unpredictable. All above, we as a nation can only hope for the best.

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Sep 9, 2012 - 10:19AM

    While I favor the good relations with India and consider them essential for the progress of both the nations, but at the same time the wish should equally exist on both the sides. I hate to break this news to you that this wish is totally absent on the Indian side. Just read the unmoderated comments on Times of India website and you would find hardly any comment approving this development.

    Recommend

  • Shabana ashraf
    Sep 9, 2012 - 11:13AM

    Thanks indian government for this policy.. Those bringing religion in this venture and making an issue of hina rabbani shaking hands are nothing but enemies of peace.. Those who cudnt c their dear obe coz of strict viza policies know what this means to them..terrorists dnt need viza they violate rules and enter but a common person suffers ..finally govt has made a great decision..thanks to indian govt .. N of course thanks to pakistan as now those who had not seen their dear ones since ages can feel free to c thm.. Dnt bring islam in this plz coz people like malik are just bringing bad name to muslima by posting absurd comments..

    Recommend

  • vickram
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:39PM

    When announcement of the cricket series came, all Pakistanis rejoiced while the Indian felt sad and let down by their government.

    This visa regime is another example; Pakistanis are feeling happy but Indians are having serious reservation about this. Many are in fact unhappy.

    Pakistanis are keen to enter India, but there is no corresponding joy at the Indian end. What does this tell you ?

    Recommend

  • vickram
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:45PM

    @Ahmad Shah:
    Positive news for you guys in Pakistan. But we Indians are reacting to this news in trepidation….

    Recommend

  • Anonymous Indian
    Sep 9, 2012 - 6:40PM

    All the other countries seem to be avoiding Pakistanis, and we Indians are allowing them in, strange isn’t it??????

    Recommend

  • Sep 10, 2012 - 9:53AM

    India and Pakistan should improve their relation in the best interest of their nations, and more lenient visa policy, India and Pakistan can become natural friends due to large amount of Muslims live in the India.
    Pakistan and India should recognise each other status

    Recommend

  • Amit
    Sep 10, 2012 - 10:31AM

    @Vickram, @Anonymous Indian. well said, cant agree more.

    I dont know what is the need. Let them fix their country. We have our own issues to deal with. They will do nothing regarding Mumbai we all know it. I am really disappointed by this foriegn policy stand taken by Indian Govt. A useless step.

    Recommend

  • M.Ahmer Ali
    Sep 10, 2012 - 10:40AM

    Very well done and august move PPP.You have signed the agreements regarding visa,travel,business and trade but you buried “Kashmir” issue by considering it “the bitter past” and considering these agreements your successes,greatest achievements and milestones towards comradeship between Pakistan-India without resolving burning and core “Kashmir” issue even shamefully both countries’ FMs didn’t mention word “Kashmir” in their joint press conference and Shehbaz Sharif also didn’t talk to S.M.Karishna about Kashmir…

    Recommend

  • V K Bajaj (Delhi)
    Sep 10, 2012 - 12:37PM

    Ms Rabani Khar!

    If not next then definitely you are the future Prime Minister or President of Beautiful Pakistan.

    Your beautiful attitude and ideas have beautify the Indo-Pak relations since you became Foreign Minister.

    You have also beautify relations between USSR and Pak.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan