Visa pact: Malik may visit India next week

FP

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik is likely to visit India between December 11 and 13 after Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde invited him through diplomatic channel. The two countries are likely to operationalise liberalised visa agreement during the visit.

Shinde said, "During the visit, the new India-Pak visa agreement will be operationalised."

The two countries recently signed a liberalised visa agreement easing restrictive guidelines and paving the way for time-bound approval and people-to-people contact.

Malik is likely to be in India on a personal visit during which he may visit Agra and Ajmer. He was earlier scheduled to visit India on November 22-23, but it was cancelled citing a busy winter session.

Later, it turned out that the government was planning to hang Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab on November 21, because of which the visit was put on hold.

Shinde said that Malik, whose birthday falls on December 12, had expressed a desire to spend the day at the Taj Mahal, and that the government would facilitate his visit.

Asked whether Malik's wife would accompany him, Shinde said, "We will welcome his visit with family."

The Home Minister is also likely to discuss with his counterparts details on the visit of Home Ministry officials to Pakistan in connection with Mumbai 26/11 probe.

During his recent visits to Wagah, border areas of J&K and the India-Bangladesh border Shinde had said that there's been a sharp rise in infiltration cases.

The two countries are going to start a cricket series from December 25 and Shinde has assured foolproof security for the Pakistan team.

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