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India, Pakistan home secretary-level talks likely in May

Delhi,Diplomacy,Indo-Pak/Pakistan, Mon, 09 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The home secretaries of India and Pakistan are likely to meet late in May in Islamabad to carry forward the discussions on terror and Hafiz Saeed that figured during talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Asif Ali Zardari. The meeting will also see the signing of an agreement on liberalizing the visa regime.


India has proposed the dates for home secretary-talks in late May after the budget session of parliament ends, said informed sources.


The dates are expected to be finalized soon in view of the importance of the meeting, said sources.



Islamabad had earlier proposed April 16, which was not acceptable to New Delhi as it coincides with a conference of chief ministers on internal security.



In their 40-minute talks Sunday, Manmohan Singh had pressed Zardari for speeding up the process of bringing 26/11 terrorists to justice and action against 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, the Lashkar-e-Taiba chief who continues to preach jihad against India.


Since they had limited time, the two leaders decided that the discussions on terror and Saeed will be held in greater detail during the home secretaries' meeting.


"The leaders discussed the problem of terrorism, which is a major issue by which the Indian people will judge progress in the bilateral relationship," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters Sunday after the talks.


Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani Monday said Pakistan was serious and Islamabad needs "substantial" evidence against Saeed to try him in a court of law.


"We are serious on the issue of Saeed but the question is how to proceed against him without evidence. Courts here are independent and we need substantial evidence against him," Gilani told reporters in Lahore.


On the positive side, India's Home Secretary R. K. Singh and his Pakistani counterpart K. Siddique Akbar will take an important step to enhance people-to-people contacts when they sign a pact to liberalise the visa regime.


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