Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s plan to celebrate his birthday with his wife in Agra, at the Taj Mahal, have not materialised, Indian Home Minister SK Shinde told reporters on Monday.
Confirming Malik’s visit for three days from December 14 to operationalise the liberalised visa agreement between the two countries, Shinde said although the Indian government had been ready to make all arrangements for a romantic celebration of his birthday, it was not to be.
"He (Malik) is going to Turkey on the 12th (of this month) with the (Pakistan) president. He has written to me to confirm that he is coming to Delhi on December 14 and will be here till (December) 16th," Shinde today said on the sidelines of 47th Raising Day celebrations of the Border Security Force (BSF).
Both the Indian and the Pakistan government apparently thought better of Malik’s India visit on December 13, the 11th anniversary of Parliament attack carried out by Pakistani terrorists.
India and Pakistan will operationalise the liberalised visa agreement during Malik's visit. The new visa regime will replace a 38-year-old restrictive accord and will pave the way for time-bound visa approval and greater people-to-people contact and trade.
Malik had tweeted on December 6 that his planned trip to India was delayed by a few days and he will visit New Delhi on December 14.
The Pakistani Minister had said he will visit Agra on December 14.
The visa agreement, signed by then External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Malik in Islamabad on September 8, eases curbs on issuing visas to traders, elderly people, tourists, pilgrims, members of civil society and children.
Under the new regime, one can visit five places, instead of the three at present, and those above 65 years of age and children below 12 years of age and eminent businessmen are exempted from reporting to the police.
Malik had indicated to Shinde, when they met in Rome on the sidelines of the Interpol General Assembly last month, that he wished to travel to New Delhi to formally launch the new visa regime.
Later, official sources had said that as the government was planning to hang 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab on November 21, the visit was postponed.
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