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The cancellation of the proposed visit of Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik to India has thrown the launch of the new visa agreement between the two countries off-gear once again. The two countries had signed a new agreement in September easing some of the visa restrictions. While Pakistan tried to complete preparations for its implementation, India had decided to unilaterally apply the new rules from October 1. But Malik, when he met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in Maldives, proposed that the two countries should jointly start the implementation of the new agreement. Shinde agreed and New Delhi put off its plans. Now, with Malik's visit not happening, Indian officials are wondering what to do with the visa agreement. The government is said to be once again actively considering going for unilateral implementation, at least on those provisions which do not require coordination from both sides.
BEING probed by the CBI in the coal block allocation case does not necessarily mean the loss of VIP treatment for the son and nephew of influential Congress MP Vijay Darda. On summons by the CBI, Darda's son Devendra and nephew Rishi landed in Delhi this morning and received special treatment not just at the airport but at the CBI headquarters as well. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security facilitated the exit of the duo from the airport premises using the security pass issued to the MP. Later, Darda's son, also the MD of Lokmat Media, used the car with an MP sticker allotted to his father to gain smooth entry inside the CBI building. Under normal rules, only authorised vehicles are allowed inside the CBI building with prior approval of senior officers.
THE new parliamentary affairs minister, Kamal Nath, will have to juggle with numbers next week in Parliament if the Trinamool Congress is able to admit its no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, but very few actually know about Nath's real fascination for special numbers. For instance, all his telephone numbers at his residences in Delhi, Chhindwara and even Kolkata end with the digits 2233. All the cars that he owns, whether in Delhi or outside, including the official vehicle that he uses, have the digits 0366. His favourite number in Parliament should be upwards of 272, the halfway mark for the government to remain in power.