Gilani expected to meet Singh in Seoul

Islamabad: Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani is expected to meet his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea next week, official sources said today.

"While the meeting with Obama has been finalised, Indian and Pakistani officials are in touch about arranging a meeting between Gilani and Singh," sources in the Pakistan government told PTI.

"We expect the meeting between the Indian and Pakistani Premiers to go ahead as considerable progress has been made in the peace process, especially the normalisation of trade ties. A Pakistani judicial commission also visited India recently as part of the probe into the Mumbai attacks," a source said. There was no official word on the meetings.

Gilani will reach Seoul on Sunday for the two-day Nuclear Security Summit beginning on March 26. His meeting with Obama will take place at a time when a joint sitting of Pakistan`s Parliament will resume debating new terms of engagement with the US that were proposed by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

The official sources said the meeting is expected to focus on these revised terms of engagement. Pakistan government ordered a Parliamentary review of the ties with the US after a string of crises last year, including the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and a cross-border NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.

The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has made 40 recommendations for revamping Pakistan-US ties, including an end to American drone attacks, an unconditional apology for the NATO air strike and the imposition of a tax on supplies transported through Pakistan to foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan closed the NATO supply routes and forced the US to vacate Shamsi airbase, believed to be a hub for CIA-operated drones, after last year`s air strike.

Pakistani leaders have indicated that they expect the NATO supply routes to be reopened once the Parliamentary review is completed.

Ties between Islamabad and Washington have been on hold since the NATO air strike, and Pakistan has turned down requests for visits by top American officials, including Special Representative Marc Grossman.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told US Ambassador Cameron Munter during a meeting yesterday that the Parliamentary review "would give public ownership to the re-engagement, and transparency and predictability in Pakistan`s relations with the United States."

Khar will accompany Prime Minister Gilani on the visit to South Korea, said a statement issued by the Foreign Office today. The summit in Seoul is a follow-up to the Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington in April 2010. Leaders from 53 countries and heads of four international organisations will attend the meet.