Pak Interior Minister's visit to India uncertain
New Delhi: The visit of Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik to India on November 22-23 for operationalisation of the landmark Indo-Pak visa agreement is unlikely to take place as Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde would be busy in Parliament being the Leader of Lok Sabha.
This is expected to be conveyed by New Delhi to Islamabad soon, official sources said.
Malik had indicated to Shinde, when they had met in Rome on the sidelines of the Interpol General Assembly last week, that he would travel to New Delhi to formally launch the new visa regime.
However, the Winter Session of Parliament will start from November 22 and Shinde, also the Leader of Lok Sabha, would be busy with Parliamentary proceedings and hardly get time to host his Pakistani counterpart.
India would convey to Pakistan that it is ready to host Rehman anytime after the Winter Session of Parliament which comes to an end by the end of December.
A new date for operationalising the visa pact would be finalised through mutual discussions.
The new liberalised Indo-Pak visa pact replaces a 38-year-old restrictive visa agreement and paves the way for time-bound visa approval and greater people-to-people contact and trade.
The visa agreement, signed by then External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Malik in Islamabad on September 8, eases curbs on issuing visas to traders, elderly people, tourists, pilgrims, members of civil society and children.
Under the new regime, one can visit five places, instead of the three at present, and those above 65 years of age and children below 12 years of age and "eminent" businessmen are exempted from reporting to the police.