Pak envoy meets Home Secy ahead of bilateral talks

New Delhi: Ahead of the India-Pakistan Home Secretary-level talks, Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik today met Home Secretary R K Singh and discussed with him various aspects of the proposed meeting during which an accord for a liberalised visa regime is expected to be inked.

Though the meeting has been termed as "courtesy call", sources said during their 30-minute deliberations, Malik discussed with Singh issues that were expected to figure at the bilateral talks scheduled to be held in Islamabad on May 24-25. An agreement to liberalise the visa procedures will benefit people of both the countries as it will exempt elderly people from police reporting, allowing common people from either country to visit three earmarked cities instead of one. The Union Cabinet had given its nod for signing the pact on April 25.

A decision on issuance of multiple entry and reporting- free visas for businessmen, allowing them to visit five cities instead of three at present, is expected to be taken, the sources said. Home Minister P Chidambaram has said that he hoped that the pact to have a liberalised visa regime will be signed during the talks besides taking forward confidence building measures (CBMs).

The Indian delegation, led by the Home Secretary, will also press for action from Pakistan to bring the Mumbai terror attack perpetrators, including JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, to justice, and speedy trial in a Pakistani court of seven 26/11 accused like Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the sources said.