Pak foreign minister coming to review ties

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Nov 24 | Updated: Nov 26 2008, 05:11am hrs
Buoyed by the recent positive signals coming from the Pakistan leadership, foreign minister of both the countries will be meeting later this week to review the composite dialogue.

Foreign minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi will be coming on a four-day visit to India on Wednesday to invigorate the peace process between the two countries. He will meet his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee to discuss bilateral issues included in the composite dialogue that both the neighbours had started in 2004.

It maybe recalled that earlier this year in June, Qureshi had to cut short his visit to India to attend his mother-in-laws funeral. The visit is to complete the previous visit and engagements which he had to leave because of the death, said sources here.

Qureshi will also pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and will convey President Asif Zardaris important message to him besides reiterating an invitation to visit Pakistan.

India and Pakistan are into their fourth round of the composite dialogue on eight issues including: confidence building measures, Kashmir, Wullar Barrage, promotion of friendly exchanges, Siachen, Sir Creek, terrorism and drug trafficking, and economic and commercial cooperation.

After opening the Line of Control (LoC) for trade last month, the two sides are expected to look at more CBMs like expanding the pilgrim places that can be visited by people of the other country.

Expecting the Pakistan to raise the Samjhauta Express blast issue, the Indian side will emphasis that the new developments indicate that this country follows open investigations, irrespective of who is involved.

Both leaders are expected to cover all aspects of bilateral relations including the ongoing dialogue process, cross-LoC CBMs, visas and bilateral trade. This will be the first high-level contact between the two countries after the September meeting in New York between Zardari and Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

The two ministers will also review the progress in the fifth round of composite dialogue that was launched in the shadow of the bombings outside the Indian mission in Kabul July 7 that put the peace process under strain.