1. Krishna arrives in Pak with mandate to build trust



    ISLAMABAD, 7 SEPT: External affairs minister S M Krishna today arrived here on a three-day visit to Pakistan to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, saying he had come with a mandate for building trust and confidence between the two countries.

    “I wish to reiterate the desire of India to see a stable and prosperous Pakistan living in peace with itself and the world. That would be in the best interest of everyone,” Mr Krishna said in an arrival statement.

    The minister said leadership of India and Pakistan have mandated building of trust and confidence between the two countries. “We are committed to finding solutions of all issues that have beset our relationship through peaceful bilateral dialogue,” he said.

    Mr Krishna said: “We look to the future where our two countries are able to live together in an atmosphere of friendliness and all-round cooperation free from terror and violence”.

    Speaking about the objective of his visit, Mr Krishna said, “My endeavour during this visit will be to promote the objectives that I have just mentioned”.

    The minister was received at the airport here by Pakistan High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir and Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal.

    Mr Krishna will call on Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf later in the day. He will also hold meeting with leaders from various Pakistan political parties. While no substantive outcome is expected from the visit, both the countries are likely to sign a new liberalised visa agreement which would be a boost for people-to-people contact.

    Mr Krishna and Ms Khar will also review the resumed dialogue between the two countries, which has been termed as “successful”. The minister will also chair the Joint Commission Meeting with Ms Khar tomorrow.

    In an interview to PTI yesterday, Mr Krishna said he looked forward to his discussions with Ms Khar, “which I believe will serve to promote mutual understanding and trust between our two countries.

    “India is of the view that normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan should be a step-by-step process. My visit to Pakistan is one more step in that approach,” he said.

    Mr Krishna had also made it clear that “it would be unrealistic to expect a barbaric terror attack such as Mumbai not to cause a major setback to our efforts to build peace and co-operation”.

    Asserting that Pakistan must address India's “terrorism related concerns”, he said India has given “more than adequate” evidence to Pakistan to enable them to bring the perpetrators of 26/11 to justice.




    SM Krishna calls on Pakistani Prime Minister

    Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told India's External Affairs Minister SM Krishna that his country is looking forward to a visit by his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

    Mr Krishna and Mr Pervez talked about ways to carry forward Indo-Pak relations, sources privy to the meeting said. Pakistan Foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar was also present during the 20-minute meeting.

    Meanwhile, leaders from Pakistan's three main political parties called on Mr Krishna, who arrived in Islamabad on Friday, and discussed issues ranging from the resumed dialogue process and trade.

    An MQM delegation, led by Dr Farooq Sattar, called on Mr Krishna. The delegation included Waseem Akhtar Nasreen Jalil and Tahir Mashhedi.

    Mr Sattar emphasised on the need for opening of consulates in Karachi and Mumbai. He also called for making the visa procedure easier.

    An ANP delegation, led by Senator Muhammad Adeel, also called on Mr Krishna.

    Mr Adeel said ANP believes that war offers no solution to any problem.

    He emphasised the need for resolution of all outstanding issues between the two countries through dialogue.

    A PML (Q) delegation, headed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, also called on Mr Krishna. He also said that he was looking forward to a meeting with Manmohan Singh.

    While the Prime Minister has accepted Pakistan's invitation, he has said that a "proper atmosphere" has to be created and a "crucial test" for Islamabad is to bring to book the perpetrators of the heinous Mumbai attacks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
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    Group visas, easier travel in new pact to be signed with Pak today

    Next wave of Kasabs should be able to have an easier time in recon and implementation of their missions... :) Thank you Congress.

    Group visas, easier travel in new pact to be signed with Pak today

     
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  6. I bring a message of goodwill: Krishna – The Express Tribune

    [​IMG]

    Never one to betray unnecessary excitability, India’s foreign policy point man, the stoic External Affairs Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, has struck some encouraging notes ahead of his visit to Pakistan in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune.

    Among other things, he stressed that India wants Islamabad as a strong and stable “partner” – and pointed out that Pakistan’s geographical location puts it in an ideal position to be a bridge between South and Central Asia.

    Scheduled to arrive in Pakistan today (Friday) on a three-day visit as a part of the composite dialogue process, Krishna is to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, as well as other top political leaders on a range of issues.

    His visit comes after substantive progress has already been made on the trade and commerce front between Pakistan and India, and could lay the groundwork for an even higher-level visit: that of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
    Krishna spoke to The Express Tribune over email on the eve of his arrival, talking about everything from trade to terrorism, prisoners to politics and from Consulates to Kashmir.

    The following is the text of entire interview, uncut.

    Q: Should we expect any major breakthrough on some of the contentious issues hampering improved relations between Pakistan and India when Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh travels to Islamabad later this year?

    A: Let me begin by saying that I bring message of goodwill and serious intent for dialogue from the Government and the people of India for the Government and the people of Pakistan. India is desirous of building a relationship of mutually beneficial all-round cooperation with Pakistan. We would wish to see Pakistan as our strong and stable partner in pursuit of peace, progress and prosperity in our region.
    During their recent meeting on the sidelines of the NAM Summit in Tehran, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh thanked President Zardari for his gracious invitation to visit Pakistan. Dr Singh also said that he attached great importance to normalising relations with Pakistan, and was keen to visit Pakistan. It is also clear that the right atmosphere needs to be created for the visit. It would need to be prepared well to have a substantive outcome, which could strengthen significantly the process of building a constructive relationship with all round co-operation between the two countries. Prime Minister Singh also mentioned to President Zardari that there must be a general feeling that Pakistan was doing all that it can to deal with terrorism directed against India from Pakistan’s soil. In keeping with the desire of the two leaders, I shall explore with Her Excellency Hina Rabbani Khar the possibilities of what can be achieved to facilitate a purposeful visit of the Prime Minister.

    Q: Why are the two—India and Pakistan-finding it almost impossible to come to some kind of agreement on Siachen and Sir Creek—-an agreement based on give and take?

    A: India is committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through peaceful bilateral dialogue to find practical and pragmatic solutions. Given the complexities of our bilateral relations, we have to be patient as we move forward and build more trust and confidence in each other. There is nothing that cannot be achieved through patience and perseverance. At the same time, we should not lose sight of the considerable progress made by the two countries over the last one year or so in regard to trade and commerce, which has enormous potential to contribute to the progress and well-being of people on both sides; as well as Cross-LoC trade and travel facilities. During my visit, I also hope to conclude a liberalized visa agreement, which will give further boost to people to people contacts.

    Q: There has been a lot of talk about cooperation between the two countries to fight terrorism and drug trafficking but very little concrete progress. What are the reasons for this slow motion on these issues, potentially dangerous for the societies of both India and Pakistan?

    A: Terrorism is the most serious threat to peace and security in our region. It is in the interest of everyone to co-operate in fighting this menace effectively and comprehensively. You may know that during their last meeting in May 2012, our Home/ Interior Secretaries reached an understanding to enhance cooperation between National Investigation Agency of India and FIA of Pakistan on issues of mutual concern, including Mumbai terror attacks investigation. They also took an in principle decision to initiate negotiations on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in order to strengthen mutual cooperation in criminal matters. They further decided to have an early meeting of investigation agencies (Central Bureau of Investigation of India and FIA of Pakistan) of the two countries to work out technical details of moving forward on issues of human trafficking, counterfeit currency, cyber crimes and Red Notices. However, I would wish to emphasize that to be productive, co-operation against terrorism requires a high degree of trust. We hope that the forward movement from the discussions between our Interior/Home Secretaries and the above mentioned agencies will be able to generate the requisite level of trust and the feeling that India’s concerns on this issue are being addressed effectively.
    As regards drug trafficking, we hope that a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Narcotics Control Bureau of India and Anti Narcotics Force of Pakistan in September 2011 to combat this menace will help enhance co-operation in this area.

    Q: India does not seem to be even partially satisfied with the progress of the case in Pakistan against those (Lakhvi and company) allegedly involved in Mumbai attacks. What in your opinion would Pakistan need to do for India to feel satisfied with the progress?

    A: India has repeatedly stressed, including at the highest level, the need for an expeditious and successful conclusion of the trial in Pakistan relating to those involved with the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Prime Minister Dr. Singh has recently mentioned that action in this respect will be a major confidence building measure, help in bridging the trust deficit and also help to build public support in India for the kind of relationship we would like to see between the two countries.

    Q: How does India view Hafiz Saeed’s claims of his innocence in the Mumbai attacks?

    A: Any such claim cannot withstand a case prepared well on the basis of the incontrovertible and undeniable evidence available against him and his well known track record of involvement in acts of terror against India.

    Q: There are still many Indians in Pakistani jails and many Pakistanis in Indian jails. Would it not add to confidence building measures (CBMs) if the two immediately released at least those who have served their sentences and also those who are not accused of being involved in proven cases of espionage?

    A: I completely agree that all such prisoners who have completed their sentences should be released and repatriated expeditiously. The understanding reached between the Home and Interior Secretaries in this regard needs to be implemented vigorously. I would like to mention that a large number of prisoners and fishermen have been repatriated from both sides over the last year or so. I am happy that efforts of the two governments in ensuring a humane approach in dealing with cases of fishermen and prisoners, especially women, elderly, juvenile, and those terminally ill or suffering from serious illness or physical / mental disability, have received significant support from the work of the bilateral Judicial Committee and the NGOs engaged in the task of ensuring the well-being and timely release of such individuals.

    Q: In the same spirit-CBMs-would it not help if the two decided to allow setting up of their respective consulates in Mumbai and Karachi, so far blocked by Mumbai politics?

    A: The significance of Mumbai and Karachi for trade and commerce and as pluralistic megacities is axiomatic. Resumption of work by the Consulate General of India in Karachi and that of Pakistan in Mumbai will undoubtedly help in boosting trade and commerce and people to people contacts. I would not look for simplistic answers to why the re-opening of these consulates has not taken place so far despite a move to that effect some years ago. Suffice it to say that we are in favour of such a move and willing to discuss the necessary modalities with the Government of Pakistan.

    Q: Officially the two countries seem to have no reservations about relaxing visa restrictions but when it comes taking a final decision on the matter, the process seems to get stonewalled by some unexplained reasons. Your views on this, please.

    A: A new and liberalized Visa Agreement has been finalised. It seeks to introduce or considerably improve visa facilities for tourists, businessmen, elderly and those wishing to visit their relations and friends. I may add that India has unilaterally taken a number of measures, including expediting business visas, grant of non-police reporting visas in deserving cases and introduction of student and medical categories etc.

    Q: Now that there seems to be a desire on the part of the two countries to forge closer all round relations, would the two governments consider increasing the frequency of rail, road and air communications as well as removing all restrictions on to and fro movement of media products and media persons?

    A: India wishes to build a mutually cooperative and productive relationship with Pakistan. Increased connectivity is both a facilitator and a consequence of such a bilateral engagement. The existing trade and travel links between our countries will need to be expanded as people to people contacts as well as trade and commerce grow. We are willing to consider opening more trade points along the border with Pakistan. We also fully support the theme of the last SAARC Summit, which was very aptly put as “Building Bridges”. India has put forward concrete proposals for enhancing regional connectivity not only with Pakistan but within the entire SAARC region. We are cooperating with SAARC countries and other neighbours in developing multi-modal connectivity within SAARC and beyond and look forward to Pakistan joining these efforts actively. India has also proposed two regional agreements – on Motor Vehicles and Railways in the SAARC framework. Pakistan’s geographical location puts it in an ideal position to be a bridge between South and Central Asia. The new trade and energy highways passing through our countries can bring prosperity commonly associated with the Silk Route of the bygone era.

    People are at the heart of relations between any two countries, more so between India and Pakistan – countries which share much in their history and culture. Enhanced interaction between our peoples and exchanges in the sphere of media will go a long way in promoting better understanding of each other, and of this shared heritage and the need to preserve it. Our films, music, TV serials, artistes and authors are popular in each other’s country. I am happy that many young artistes from Pakistan are finding increasing success in India. We encourage this, for in the success of such people lies the seeds of greater trust and better understanding.

    Q: Can you categorically say that the renewed peace process is irreversible? What if another Mumbai like attack happens, will it derail the process?

    A: We have all along desired the peace process between India and Pakistan to remain uninterrupted. However, such a process cannot make much progress in an atmosphere of terror and violence. It would be unrealistic to expect that peace and cooperation can coexist with barbaric terrorism of the kind we saw in Mumbai. It is incumbent upon all countries to deal with terrorist forces effectively and comprehensively and to ensure that their territory is not used for acts of terror against others.

    Q: Notwithstanding the current stated position of both Pakistan and India on Kashmir, can you realistically say the two countries find an out of box solution to the decades-old problem?

    A: It would be recalled that the period between 2004-2008 saw the most fruitful and productive discussions ever between India and Pakistan, including on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. These discussions were based on the common understanding that while boundaries could not be redrawn, we could work towards making them irrelevant by enabling people on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) to move freely and trade with each other. We need to carry those discussions forward and build on them. I may add that as a result of Cross-LoC CBMs initiated during the above period, a large number of people from both sides of LoC have been able to visit their families on the other side, and goods worth crores have been traded through two designated points on the LoC. Over the last one year, Her Excellency Hina Rabbani Khar and I have taken some important decisions to improve further the trade and travel facilities along the LoC. The number of trading days has already gone up from two to four per week. Some other steps to be implemented include improvement of trade infrastructure, introduction of six-month multiple entry permits for travel, introduction of travel for tourism and pilgrimage in addition to visiting relations and introduction of banking facilities for Cross LoC trade. India is willing to open additional points along the LoC for trade and travel.

    Q: India has got massive investment in the Southeast of Afghanistan and Pakistani leadership is always skeptical of your country’s presence there. How would you assure authorities here in Islamabad that New Delhi’s involvement in Kabul should not be seen as threat?

    :- India is engaged in developmental and humanitarian work in Afghanistan, at the request of the Government of Afghanistan, to assist the Afghan people as they build a peaceful, stable, inclusive, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan. India does not see Afghanistan as a battleground for competing national interests, nor assistance to Afghanistan for reconstruction and development as a zero sum game. Our 2 billion US Dollar assistance programme in Afghanistan is largely aimed at building infrastructure, capacity building in critical areas of governance, health, education, agriculture and generating employment. This has been developed in consultation with the Afghan authorities and is spread across all areas of that country. India’s sincere and friendly cooperation with Afghanistan, a country with which we share ties since antiquity, is not directed against any other country. I believe that there is growing realization of this reality in better informed segments of public opinion in Pakistan also. As countries with a vital stake in peace and stability in Afghanistan, we ought to be able to discuss our respective role in contributing towards such peace and stability.

    Q: Is it possible that Pakistan and India can be on the same page on the Afghan endgame?

    A: As countries in the region, both India and Pakistan naturally have a vital stake in a peaceful, stable, inclusive, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan. Both the countries, and their peoples, stand to benefit enormously from Afghanistan thriving as a transit hub of trade and energy. This vision has also been endorsed by the international community. Such an Afghanistan can come about only if there is no external interference in its affairs and the people of Afghanistan are left to make choices for their own future. India would respect such choices and expects all other countries to do likewise.

    Q: How can you assure authorities in Pakistan that India is not in any way involved in the ongoing unrest in Balochistan?

    A: We have said it on many occasions, at the highest level, and I reiterate it for the benefit of your readers, that India wishes to see a stable and prosperous Pakistan, acting as a bulwark against terrorism in its own interest and in the interest of the region. We are highly disappointed at the allegations made against India from time to time in the context of unrest in Baluchistan, with which India has nothing to do.

    Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2012.
     
  7. I bring a message of goodwill: Krishna – The Express Tribune

    [​IMG]

    Never one to betray unnecessary excitability, India’s foreign policy point man, the stoic External Affairs Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, has struck some encouraging notes ahead of his visit to Pakistan in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune.

    Among other things, he stressed that India wants Islamabad as a strong and stable “partner” – and pointed out that Pakistan’s geographical location puts it in an ideal position to be a bridge between South and Central Asia.

    Scheduled to arrive in Pakistan today (Friday) on a three-day visit as a part of the composite dialogue process, Krishna is to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, as well as other top political leaders on a range of issues.

    His visit comes after substantive progress has already been made on the trade and commerce front between Pakistan and India, and could lay the groundwork for an even higher-level visit: that of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
    Krishna spoke to The Express Tribune over email on the eve of his arrival, talking about everything from trade to terrorism, prisoners to politics and from Consulates to Kashmir.

    The following is the text of entire interview, uncut.

    Q: Should we expect any major breakthrough on some of the contentious issues hampering improved relations between Pakistan and India when Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh travels to Islamabad later this year?

    A: Let me begin by saying that I bring message of goodwill and serious intent for dialogue from the Government and the people of India for the Government and the people of Pakistan. India is desirous of building a relationship of mutually beneficial all-round cooperation with Pakistan. We would wish to see Pakistan as our strong and stable partner in pursuit of peace, progress and prosperity in our region.
    During their recent meeting on the sidelines of the NAM Summit in Tehran, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh thanked President Zardari for his gracious invitation to visit Pakistan. Dr Singh also said that he attached great importance to normalising relations with Pakistan, and was keen to visit Pakistan. It is also clear that the right atmosphere needs to be created for the visit. It would need to be prepared well to have a substantive outcome, which could strengthen significantly the process of building a constructive relationship with all round co-operation between the two countries. Prime Minister Singh also mentioned to President Zardari that there must be a general feeling that Pakistan was doing all that it can to deal with terrorism directed against India from Pakistan’s soil. In keeping with the desire of the two leaders, I shall explore with Her Excellency Hina Rabbani Khar the possibilities of what can be achieved to facilitate a purposeful visit of the Prime Minister.

    Q: Why are the two—India and Pakistan-finding it almost impossible to come to some kind of agreement on Siachen and Sir Creek—-an agreement based on give and take?

    A: India is committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through peaceful bilateral dialogue to find practical and pragmatic solutions. Given the complexities of our bilateral relations, we have to be patient as we move forward and build more trust and confidence in each other. There is nothing that cannot be achieved through patience and perseverance. At the same time, we should not lose sight of the considerable progress made by the two countries over the last one year or so in regard to trade and commerce, which has enormous potential to contribute to the progress and well-being of people on both sides; as well as Cross-LoC trade and travel facilities. During my visit, I also hope to conclude a liberalized visa agreement, which will give further boost to people to people contacts.

    Q: There has been a lot of talk about cooperation between the two countries to fight terrorism and drug trafficking but very little concrete progress. What are the reasons for this slow motion on these issues, potentially dangerous for the societies of both India and Pakistan?

    A: Terrorism is the most serious threat to peace and security in our region. It is in the interest of everyone to co-operate in fighting this menace effectively and comprehensively. You may know that during their last meeting in May 2012, our Home/ Interior Secretaries reached an understanding to enhance cooperation between National Investigation Agency of India and FIA of Pakistan on issues of mutual concern, including Mumbai terror attacks investigation. They also took an in principle decision to initiate negotiations on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in order to strengthen mutual cooperation in criminal matters. They further decided to have an early meeting of investigation agencies (Central Bureau of Investigation of India and FIA of Pakistan) of the two countries to work out technical details of moving forward on issues of human trafficking, counterfeit currency, cyber crimes and Red Notices. However, I would wish to emphasize that to be productive, co-operation against terrorism requires a high degree of trust. We hope that the forward movement from the discussions between our Interior/Home Secretaries and the above mentioned agencies will be able to generate the requisite level of trust and the feeling that India’s concerns on this issue are being addressed effectively.
    As regards drug trafficking, we hope that a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Narcotics Control Bureau of India and Anti Narcotics Force of Pakistan in September 2011 to combat this menace will help enhance co-operation in this area.

    Q: India does not seem to be even partially satisfied with the progress of the case in Pakistan against those (Lakhvi and company) allegedly involved in Mumbai attacks. What in your opinion would Pakistan need to do for India to feel satisfied with the progress?

    A: India has repeatedly stressed, including at the highest level, the need for an expeditious and successful conclusion of the trial in Pakistan relating to those involved with the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Prime Minister Dr. Singh has recently mentioned that action in this respect will be a major confidence building measure, help in bridging the trust deficit and also help to build public support in India for the kind of relationship we would like to see between the two countries.

    Q: How does India view Hafiz Saeed’s claims of his innocence in the Mumbai attacks?

    A: Any such claim cannot withstand a case prepared well on the basis of the incontrovertible and undeniable evidence available against him and his well known track record of involvement in acts of terror against India.

    Q: There are still many Indians in Pakistani jails and many Pakistanis in Indian jails. Would it not add to confidence building measures (CBMs) if the two immediately released at least those who have served their sentences and also those who are not accused of being involved in proven cases of espionage?

    A: I completely agree that all such prisoners who have completed their sentences should be released and repatriated expeditiously. The understanding reached between the Home and Interior Secretaries in this regard needs to be implemented vigorously. I would like to mention that a large number of prisoners and fishermen have been repatriated from both sides over the last year or so. I am happy that efforts of the two governments in ensuring a humane approach in dealing with cases of fishermen and prisoners, especially women, elderly, juvenile, and those terminally ill or suffering from serious illness or physical / mental disability, have received significant support from the work of the bilateral Judicial Committee and the NGOs engaged in the task of ensuring the well-being and timely release of such individuals.

    Q: In the same spirit-CBMs-would it not help if the two decided to allow setting up of their respective consulates in Mumbai and Karachi, so far blocked by Mumbai politics?

    A: The significance of Mumbai and Karachi for trade and commerce and as pluralistic megacities is axiomatic. Resumption of work by the Consulate General of India in Karachi and that of Pakistan in Mumbai will undoubtedly help in boosting trade and commerce and people to people contacts. I would not look for simplistic answers to why the re-opening of these consulates has not taken place so far despite a move to that effect some years ago. Suffice it to say that we are in favour of such a move and willing to discuss the necessary modalities with the Government of Pakistan.

    Q: Officially the two countries seem to have no reservations about relaxing visa restrictions but when it comes taking a final decision on the matter, the process seems to get stonewalled by some unexplained reasons. Your views on this, please.

    A: A new and liberalized Visa Agreement has been finalised. It seeks to introduce or considerably improve visa facilities for tourists, businessmen, elderly and those wishing to visit their relations and friends. I may add that India has unilaterally taken a number of measures, including expediting business visas, grant of non-police reporting visas in deserving cases and introduction of student and medical categories etc.

    Q: Now that there seems to be a desire on the part of the two countries to forge closer all round relations, would the two governments consider increasing the frequency of rail, road and air communications as well as removing all restrictions on to and fro movement of media products and media persons?

    A: India wishes to build a mutually cooperative and productive relationship with Pakistan. Increased connectivity is both a facilitator and a consequence of such a bilateral engagement. The existing trade and travel links between our countries will need to be expanded as people to people contacts as well as trade and commerce grow. We are willing to consider opening more trade points along the border with Pakistan. We also fully support the theme of the last SAARC Summit, which was very aptly put as “Building Bridges”. India has put forward concrete proposals for enhancing regional connectivity not only with Pakistan but within the entire SAARC region. We are cooperating with SAARC countries and other neighbours in developing multi-modal connectivity within SAARC and beyond and look forward to Pakistan joining these efforts actively. India has also proposed two regional agreements – on Motor Vehicles and Railways in the SAARC framework. Pakistan’s geographical location puts it in an ideal position to be a bridge between South and Central Asia. The new trade and energy highways passing through our countries can bring prosperity commonly associated with the Silk Route of the bygone era.

    People are at the heart of relations between any two countries, more so between India and Pakistan – countries which share much in their history and culture. Enhanced interaction between our peoples and exchanges in the sphere of media will go a long way in promoting better understanding of each other, and of this shared heritage and the need to preserve it. Our films, music, TV serials, artistes and authors are popular in each other’s country. I am happy that many young artistes from Pakistan are finding increasing success in India. We encourage this, for in the success of such people lies the seeds of greater trust and better understanding.

    Q: Can you categorically say that the renewed peace process is irreversible? What if another Mumbai like attack happens, will it derail the process?

    A: We have all along desired the peace process between India and Pakistan to remain uninterrupted. However, such a process cannot make much progress in an atmosphere of terror and violence. It would be unrealistic to expect that peace and cooperation can coexist with barbaric terrorism of the kind we saw in Mumbai. It is incumbent upon all countries to deal with terrorist forces effectively and comprehensively and to ensure that their territory is not used for acts of terror against others.

    Q: Notwithstanding the current stated position of both Pakistan and India on Kashmir, can you realistically say the two countries find an out of box solution to the decades-old problem?

    A: It would be recalled that the period between 2004-2008 saw the most fruitful and productive discussions ever between India and Pakistan, including on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. These discussions were based on the common understanding that while boundaries could not be redrawn, we could work towards making them irrelevant by enabling people on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) to move freely and trade with each other. We need to carry those discussions forward and build on them. I may add that as a result of Cross-LoC CBMs initiated during the above period, a large number of people from both sides of LoC have been able to visit their families on the other side, and goods worth crores have been traded through two designated points on the LoC. Over the last one year, Her Excellency Hina Rabbani Khar and I have taken some important decisions to improve further the trade and travel facilities along the LoC. The number of trading days has already gone up from two to four per week. Some other steps to be implemented include improvement of trade infrastructure, introduction of six-month multiple entry permits for travel, introduction of travel for tourism and pilgrimage in addition to visiting relations and introduction of banking facilities for Cross LoC trade. India is willing to open additional points along the LoC for trade and travel.

    Q: India has got massive investment in the Southeast of Afghanistan and Pakistani leadership is always skeptical of your country’s presence there. How would you assure authorities here in Islamabad that New Delhi’s involvement in Kabul should not be seen as threat?

    :- India is engaged in developmental and humanitarian work in Afghanistan, at the request of the Government of Afghanistan, to assist the Afghan people as they build a peaceful, stable, inclusive, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan. India does not see Afghanistan as a battleground for competing national interests, nor assistance to Afghanistan for reconstruction and development as a zero sum game. Our 2 billion US Dollar assistance programme in Afghanistan is largely aimed at building infrastructure, capacity building in critical areas of governance, health, education, agriculture and generating employment. This has been developed in consultation with the Afghan authorities and is spread across all areas of that country. India’s sincere and friendly cooperation with Afghanistan, a country with which we share ties since antiquity, is not directed against any other country. I believe that there is growing realization of this reality in better informed segments of public opinion in Pakistan also. As countries with a vital stake in peace and stability in Afghanistan, we ought to be able to discuss our respective role in contributing towards such peace and stability.

    Q: Is it possible that Pakistan and India can be on the same page on the Afghan endgame?

    A: As countries in the region, both India and Pakistan naturally have a vital stake in a peaceful, stable, inclusive, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan. Both the countries, and their peoples, stand to benefit enormously from Afghanistan thriving as a transit hub of trade and energy. This vision has also been endorsed by the international community. Such an Afghanistan can come about only if there is no external interference in its affairs and the people of Afghanistan are left to make choices for their own future. India would respect such choices and expects all other countries to do likewise.

    Q: How can you assure authorities in Pakistan that India is not in any way involved in the ongoing unrest in Balochistan?

    A: We have said it on many occasions, at the highest level, and I reiterate it for the benefit of your readers, that India wishes to see a stable and prosperous Pakistan, acting as a bulwark against terrorism in its own interest and in the interest of the region. We are highly disappointed at the allegations made against India from time to time in the context of unrest in Baluchistan, with which India has nothing to do.

    Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2012.
     
  8. S M Krishna meets Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar; terrorism high on agenda



    ISLAMABAD: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna began crucial talks with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar today to review the second round of resumed dialogue with issues like terrorism to be on top of the agenda.

    The one-to-one meeting between Krishna and Khar was followed by delegation-level talks between the two sides.

    Indian officials earlier said that terrorism will form the core of New Delhi's discussions, particularly the slow pace of the Mumbai attack case trial.

    Other issues include those concerning prisoners as well as trade and border issues.

    The talks will culminate in inking of much-awaited new liberalised visa agreement to boost people-to-people contacts.

    For the first time, group tourism will be part of the new pact which will also have other new categories, including multiple city one-year visas for businessmen and visa-on-arrival for people aged 65 years.

    Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani were also present.

    Both Ministers will also co-chair the Joint Commission Meeting later this evening, which was revived in 2005 after a gap of 16 years. This is Krishna's second visit to Pakistan in over two years.

    Ahead of today's meeting with Khar, Krishna yesterday called on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and met a series of political leaders from MQM, ANP and PML-Q parties.

    Also, Foreign Secretary-level talks were held yesterday here during which the two sides discussed all aspects of the resumed dialogue, apart from reviewing the entire expanse of the discussions held so far.

    The two sides described their discussions as "positive" and "frank". They acknowledged that progress has been made in bilateral ties but agreed that "much more needs to be done".

    Later today, the two sides will also ink an agreement on culture between Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and its Pakistani counterpart PNCS.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  9. Hina Rabbani Khar's Interview with Barkha Dutt for NDTV
    (7th Sept.)

    [​IMG]

    Islamabad: As Delhi puts the 26/11 attacks trial on centre-stage in talks with Islamabad, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that her government has "no love lost" for Hafiz Saeed or individuals like him. In an exclusive interview to NDTV's Barkha Dutt, she said Hafiz Saeed is not a crony of the Pakistani government.

    Here is the full transcript of the interview:

    Barkha Dutt: When Hina Rabbani Khar visited India last year as Pakistan's youngest Foreign Minister and also Pakistan's first women Foreign Minister, she immediately grabbed many gushing headlines. In fact, many said that Hina Rabbani Khar had 'wowed' the Indian media. But now, beyond the rhetoric and the headlines as India and Pakistan talk again, the question is how much progress has really been made in this equation? What still are the roadblocks and what are the obstacles? Cynics even say are we just innocents, marking a date in the calendar by talking, or are things really improving? Here in Islamabad, in her office, is Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. Nice talking to you here. You know and you must have seen the media reaction to you when you visited lndia last year. Were you surprised that so much of media coverage focused on your personality, your gender, your age, even your clothes?

    Ms Khar: Well, first of all let me welcome you to Islamabad. It's a pleasure to have you and your many colleagues here. Surprised? I think these things are natural, I think, since I was somewhat younger than many of my peers. But what was more important, was, I like to believe, that we were carrying a different message from the government of Pakistan to the people of India. And that is, I hope, what got more attention than anything else. And to be quite honest, if you look at the state of relations between the two countries one year on, I can only say that I'm satisfied.

    Barkha Dutt: You are?

    Ms Khar: Absolutely. And you can look at the views of the cynics, but I would take them with a pinch of salt, and I would like to say that we have to continue to look at the glass that's half full rather than half empty. India and Pakistan have had historically very, very difficult relations. That's the first thing we have to acknowledge when we do a judgment call on where we are today, or where we want to be. Now what has been very clear from Pakistan's side, I hope and I hope it is very apparent also to the Indian side, is that we have really worked very hard to send a serious message to the government of India, and to the people of India, that we mean business and we are walking the talk of moving towards a different relationship with India. And I can tell you that in the last year, if you look at the atmospherics, which were prevalent in the last year or so, and compare them to what they are today; if you look at the interactions which have happened at the high level, the President's meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, both in New Delhi and then recently in Tehran. All of them have added momentum to move towards what is our eventual goal. And where is our eventual goal? Our eventual goal is first of all to sustain the on-going dialogue process; to consolidate the on-going dialogue process, and most importantly to make this process a more productive one. Now, Barkha Dutt, we cannot achieve everything overnight. And let's bear in mind the fact that with India and Pakistan I thought the first requirement, when I arrived in New Delhi in July also, I think at that time really, the goal was to be able to improve the environment and the atmospherics to the extent that we can seriously sit on the dialogue table, on the negotiating table, not be burdened by history, at the same time learn lessons from history. And again, you can either have a hawkish view, to learn lessons from history and continue to talk about the wars we have had, and about the difficulties we have had, or you can have a view of optimist and say that in order to move forward we have to unburden ourselves. The lessons that I would like to learn for instance are the lessons of the missed opportunities, and I convey you this on behalf of the government of Pakistan. Pakistan has no intention, and Pakistan is very, very keen to not have another missed opportunity between the two countries; the missed opportunity towards a more peaceful, a more stable relationship, which is based on trust. And when I talk about missed opportunity where I'm referring to, you know, that we have had many occasions where we could have come very close to resolving some of our disputes, some of our important, territorial disputes.

    Barkha Dutt: And those have always stayed short of been signed on the dotted line. But let me ask you, you have also had an occasion now to meet your counterpart SM Krishna a number of times, whether in Tokyo or other occasions. Now one of the things that India has repeatedly said, and this comes up with the highest level between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Zardari as well, is the Mumbai trial. And again and again India is making the point to Pakistan, that without substantive progress on these trials, this is the most serious roadblock today. Now, at the Foreign Secretary level, evidence has been shared by India about Abu Jundal, who has in fact made some very serious allegations even about sections of Pakistan's official agency being involved in these trials, something that Pakistan has denied. But he had a Pakistani passport; he had Pakistani identity papers. What assurance today can you give to the people of India that you and your government are serious, because it's been so long since 2008 and substantive progress hasn't been made?

    Ms Khar: Sure, Barkha Dutt, let me make two general points before I move to answer your question directly, and I'm not trying to hoodwink your question in anyway, but I'm just trying to make two general points. First of all, as the leading light of the Indian media, let me convey to you with full confidence and the fact that if you look at Indian media today and compare it to the Pakistani media, whether it is electronic media or the print media, I'm proud to be a Pakistani and I'll tell you why I say that. I say that because the narrative in Pakistan today is no more of hostility, of breeding animosity...

    Barkha Dutt: Nor is it in the Indian media...

    Ms Khar: ...Absolutely. Let me just complete this. And that to me is very, very important, and in India, when I was there briefly in New Delhi for only two days, your headlines are about the role of ISI, the economic terrorism or this terrorism. Your headlines are about somewhat less of an optimist view of the relations or the state of play that is currently within the two countries, so that's one point. The second point, if you tell us that it has been far too long, you know, we can tell you back, so if you want to do a tit for tat of an interaction, we can tell you what about the Samjhauta Express, it has been even longer, okay. But we would not choose to do that, simply for the reason that we understand that whatever are the issues which are of pain to the Indian public or to the Pakistani public, and there are many which are to the pain of Pakistani public, we need to look at them in a reality check mode, in a pragmatic mode, and when I look at, for instance at the Mumbai trial in a pragmatic mode, there is a clear movement forward. There has been a clear movement forward in the past and currently I think it hinges upon giving the Judicial Commission the right to cross-examine.

    Barkha Dutt: ...Which is going to happen now. It is going to make a second visit from what we understand.

    Ms Khar: Absolutely. So once that happens we cannot hold ourselves hostage to that particular process, which is by and large a judicial process. Now you know the judicial processes in India, whether they are domestic or ones like this, which are less domestic and same is the case with Pakistan. Now, when a judicial process is ongoing, and when we had said categorically and clearly that the right, and not we as the government, but the courts have said, that they should be allowed to cross-examine. Once we move beyond that, we should be able to hopefully move to a point where this ceases to be an issue. So what I'm trying to say is, try and move beyond issue based relationship.

    Barkha Dutt: But you do understand the pain and anger about Mumbai, don't you?

    Ms Khar: Of course, and I understand many other pains, angers which exist in the Pakistani public also and in the Indian public. What I'm saying is that, let's not doubt our intentions because, as I said, then we could roll on the Samjhauta Express story more often than we do, and we do not, for the simple reason that we understand the judicial processes are working, and we hope that we will find a conclusion to all of these. So that, as I said, is the baggage of history, the new baggage of history, because these are somewhat new. Baggage of history should also put to an end and we are able to look forward to a relationship in which we can move forward. When I say moving forward, do I mean moving forward without staring in the face the issues we have between the two countries? So if we, for instance, are allowed not to talk about or we are not so keen to talk about the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, and I think it will be unfair to the relationship, because this is a factor in the relationship, and what do we plan to do? I think a clear lesson learnt should be that for 65 years we have tried to solve our problems through a certain track, and the track has been mostly marred by hostility and animosity and doubting each other's intentions, and throwing at each other evidence of misbehaviour, bad intentions in the past. So do we want to continue in that trajectory, or we want to say that past is past, if there are mistakes or not. We need to move forward. Let me tell you this much and we can end this topic over here - the government of Pakistan is committed to ensuring that all of these issues cease to be issues. How do we ensure that they cease to be issues? Let me resolve them. So we are committed to doing so. Let me also say, be a bit bold and say, that it is not in Pakistan's national interest, it is not in Pakistan's interest for this issue to continue as an issue. We want a resolution to this issue so we can move on.

    Barkha Dutt: I understand what you are saying. You are saying leave it to the judicial process. The Judicial Commission will visit India a second time, hopefully with cross-examination of three witnesses it will be able to make a stronger case in the courts here. Got that point. But one more question, related to this, is something you are asked again and again, and I know you are asked this officially, the issue of Hafiz Saeed. Now when I was speaking with your High Commissioner to India, who was Foreign Secretary previously, also been involved in the talks, Salman Bashir, I said you know Indians feel very disturbed when they see Hafiz Saeed being able to hold rallies, being able to make anti -India statements, because they see him as a mastermind of 26/11. You had the Americans announcing for example a 10 million dollar bounty for information that could lead to his arrest, and he spoke about how even under Pakistan law there are restrictions on the activity of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa. What would you, Foreign Minister, say to the people of India through this interview about Hafiz Saeed?

    Ms Khar: I would say simply that again this is another example. You see Hafiz Saeed was taken to court, you know that, and a process took place. We will be happy to receive any evidence which can assist us in doing what you think is a reasonable thing to do. So as far as Hafiz Saeed is concerned, when it comes to his relationship with the government, it's not particularly an amicable one either. If you look at the statements which come typically, so it's not any crony of the government which we are allowing to go free, but in order to take anybody to court we do need serious evidence that courts will hold. So if there is any evidence, we would encourage that, and I think the Interior Minister made many statements to the same extent. Now we do all operate in a political and democratic polity, and yours is a much more mature one than ours. So we have to understand that anyone can say. Now, there are many people in the Indian Parliament or outside of the Indian Parliament who would give statements about Pakistan, which are not particularly those, which are moving towards a peaceful track.

    Barkha Dutt: But he is linked to the 26/11, which is why I'm asking.

    Ms Khar: Well, as I said, any evidence specifically which can be held in the court of law will help, and we have no love lost for any of these individuals whatsoever. Pakistan today is trying very hard to become a pluralistic society, a democratic pluralistic, liberal society and that's the society or that's the country and that's the ethos that was bequeathed to us by Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

    Barkha Dutt: So no love lost for Hafiz Saeed?

    Ms Khar: And I look at these problems of personalities and of issues, and issues like terrorism also to be regional problems. And I think, that in order to move forward, if we refuse to put on the regional lens, then we will continue to spat at each other and I think spatting at each other should be old fashioned. I feel sorry for people who want to do a tit for tat and I have often said to my own people, that I don't believe in some ways, in reciprocity. So we are going to go into proactive diplomacy and we are going to try and lead on the positivities and we are going to try and lead on the peaceful resolution of disputes. That's our track. We will choose our track and we hope from what we see from your political leadership, from Mr Krishna, from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, we feel reciprocity.

    Barkha Dutt: You know some people say that younger people, and I am asking you this as the youngest Foreign Minister of Pakistan, younger people on both sides of the border don't care that much about the old narratives. You know older people were, in a sense, influenced by memories of partition...

    Ms Khar: Sure...

    Barkha Dutt: ... what their parents have told them

    Ms Khar: Absolutely...

    Barkha Dutt: ... very different understanding. They've seen wars. As a young Foreign Minister, do you feel that 'generationally' there has been an attitudinal shift?

    Ms Khar: Look, I would just say it would be unfair to say no to that question and I say it's a reality. For instance, let me give you an example: when we were meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr.Krishna and their team in Tehran, you know the President was of course leading the talks, and we had the Chairman of the Pakistan People's Party Mr Bilawal Bhutto and myself also...

    Barkha Dutt: ...Sitting in on the talks

    Ms Khar: ...and I said this during the talks, and I said that - you know Mr Prime Minister, people like the Chairman of the Pakistan People's Party and myself, we haven't seen the 1971 war. We were born after that, right, so a lot of that baggage we do not carry and what we would like to be able to contribute is a narrative which is different from the younger generations. You know we've done a fantastic job in having a negative narrative, which is being fostered in people of the younger generation also. So the identity of Pakistan today is not coming from being hostile to India. Pakistan today wants to develop an identity, which is a positive identity unto itself first, and then with all of its neighbours. And I hope you have noticed this government's pain and efforts to have a relationship based on more trust, I am using the word more trust because I think we've gone over the trust deficit part...

    Barkha Dutt: ...Trust deficit cliche

    Ms Khar: ... and we're now in the zero zone and now we need to move forward.

    Barkha Dutt: How much of trade equation changes things?

    Ms Khar: I think it is absolutely right for the trade equations and anything that is positive to change things, and for that please give us a lot of credit. Because here is a serious demonstration of Pakistan and the Pakistani government and the Pakistani people to say let's move on. To say we are not going to be held back by decisions which were taken decades ago and we are not going to be hostage to them, and we are not going to just follow them without any thought. We are going to move forward and we are going to move forward with a different mind-set and a mind-set which really, you know, at the end of the day if we can just change the lens and put on a regional lens and realise that we have held SAARC, ourselves, hostage to the rivalry between the two countries, and does it suit a country or a nation as big and large as India? You know democratic, one of the ancient civilizations and a nation as resilient, strong you know as Pakistan to be, to continue to be in this, you know, literally enforcing an identity on our own people which is, one which is hostile to another? I think it doesn't suit us and we have to move beyond it.

    Barkha Dutt: You have spoken about holding SAARC hostage, but there are actually people, and I did a programme on this recently, innocent people on both sides of the border, prisoners you know, prisoners held in jail, hapless fishermen.

    Ms Khar: Absolutely...

    Barkha Dutt: ...we see every few months, of them being released. And then there are high profile cases; there was Dr Chishty. In India, there is an on-going debate in Pakistan about Sarabjeet Singh, any movement on that, that you can convey to the Indian people? It's a case that's acquired a lot of interest, as you know. We understand Pakistan's position on it as well but any forward movement on this one?

    Ms Khar: Look, let me just say this much, both on high profile cases which are very important, but so are the case of the...

    Barkha Dutt: ...the anonymous people

    Ms Khar:... hundreds of fishermen

    Barkha Dutt: Yes, Yes and ...

    Ms Khar: While we were preparing for Mr Krishna's visit you know, this was one of my points within the inter-ministerial discussions we were having in Islamabad, that we need to look at the numbers, you know, we need to stop talking about the generalities on fishermen's release, and we need to look at the numbers and we need to make sure, and I think this will be an important thing that we are able to achieve in this meeting. That we need to make sure that once we sign an agreement that agreement does not fall prey to ...

    Barkha Dutt: ... politics

    Ms Khar: ... not to politics

    Barkha Dutt: ... or differences, or trouble ahead

    Ms Khar: No, no. I would say red tapism. I mean, colonial bureaucratic structures in both countries. Let's be honest we have both...

    Barkha Dutt: ... plenty of that on both sides

    Ms Khar: ... plenty of that on both sides. So that must not be allowed and for that we need, obviously you know, I guess a lot of proactive effort at the leadership level, at the political leadership level, because we must not allow once. For instance if, Inshallah, tomorrow, once we sign the Visa Agreement, once the Visa Agreement is signed we must make sure that we abide by that agreement, right, we don't create problems, issues and that to me is a very big confidence building measure.

    Barkha Dutt: So how big is the visa liberalisation agreement going to be?

    Ms Khar: I think big enough, I think big enough.

    Barkha Dutt: It was held up earlier because there was a sense that political protagonist must be signing it, so can you confirm to us now, that this is going to be a substantive forward movement?

    Ms Khar: Absolutely...

    Barkha Dutt: ...in the talks this time?

    Ms Khar: Absolutely it will be, it will be and I just don't want you to, you know, undermine the importance of what we've been able to do in trade ...

    Barkha Dutt: No, no, no, not at all. I am just taking it a step forward and ...

    Ms Khar: ... because what I am saying is that for those cynics okay, who say that, okay this is another you know, dot in the calendar or a tick mark on the calendar, I don't think that's been the case. I think if you look in the last year and a half or so, we've moved forward on substantive issues. However, as I said before, at the beginning of this interview, it will be wrong of us to imagine that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir for instance, does not exist between the two countries. And as I have said repeatedly, this is not an issue that is based on a figment of Pakistan's imagination; it's the Security Council Resolution. So, but we need to move towards a point where we can pragmatically sit on the negotiating table and solve it. And to all of those who say that, what have you been able to achieve by being on a course of peace with India, I normally say something which should be expected of somebody from our generation, and I say that if you could give 65 years to the warmongers, you know, a chance to solve the disputes, will you not allow us the luxury of even 6 years?

    Barkha Dutt: Okay, two last questions, one is this issue could come up and has come up between India and Pakistan, the issue of minorities in Pakistan. Now we've seen statement from Pakistan's President setting up a committee promising a protection, but we've also seen an official statement from India saying that there are a number of Hindus who came to India, and they've applied for long term visas, more than a thousand is the official figure released. So how does Pakistan plan to handle this issue and what will be your response to those who have actually sought these long-term visas on the Indian side?

    Ms Khar: Listen, on the question of minorities, we are a country and a government which is committed to upholding the rights of minorities and giving them equal, if not proactively reaching out to make them part of the main stream society. And I think Pakistan, over the years, has been able to do, quite frankly, a decent job at it, because you know a lot of reports come about the treatment that is meted out to Muslims in India, which happens to be a much larger minority. So to speak right, so now without falling prey to those headlines and moving forward, this is something, which we feel, as democracy, solidifies in Pakistan. It will find a natural, you know, momentum forward, and as far as the government is concerned you have seen this very strong statement because the President often says that minorities are his constituency. You know the previous Prime Minister, Prime Minister Gilani, used to say that also. So we have to make sure, look right now what we have to do in societies which are, you know, South Asian societies, let's just say yours and ours, in some ways we have to, through legislation, through action by government, build the walls which protect minorities and which try and mainstream them. Eventually we hope to have a Pakistan in which the society will be the walls of protection around it and you will not need legislation. However if you look into the track record of Pakistan People's Party, we have made executive decisions to make sure the minorities are represented in civil service of Pakistan, this is all an effort to try and mainstream them. Now, whatever is the reality that exists in societies, we have to move forward to change, so I can just tell you this much, that Pakistan is committed to move forward, to ensure that minorities are main streamed, that minorities are not meted out any unfair treatment.

    Barkha Dutt: In conclusion, I have to ask you this on a slightly personal note, as the youngest Foreign Minister, as a woman minister do you find it annoying that there is a lot of focus, that wouldn't be on you if you were indeed male? Because I remember once I was interviewing Hillary Clinton and she said that you know it's only about me that they'll say Secretary of state Hillary Clinton, wearing . . . .

    Ms Khar: Sure

    Barkha Dutt: ... and then go on to the next thing ...

    Ms Khar: Sure

    Barkha Dutt: ...and you saw that was sort of the kind of focus you got when you came to India. It's a kind of focus you get in the International media a lot. Do you laugh it off or does it annoy you? In other words, how much is gender playing a role in your experience of being Foreign Minister?

    Ms Khar: Okay, first of all, I think working within the government of Pakistan and internationally, gender has only helped. So I feel, you know, a person who is, and I am being very honest over here, who is male in the same position that I am, even before I was made Foreign Minister, you know if you're good you stand out much more, if you're a woman, you know, I don't mean it.

    Barkha Dutt: ... it's helped

    Ms Khar: ... in that way. I have never felt any gender bias in working of government at all what so ever. So that's never been a consideration. As far as the attention to, you know, the other things are concerned, I think it's just, you know, in good humour. You just have to laugh it off and move forward.

    Barkha Dutt: You were called the weapon of mass distraction...

    Ms Khar: Well, I don't know about that. But really I think I intend to be taken seriously in spite and despite of that, and I think it is not fair to, you know, overly be...

    Barkha Dutt: Focused on that?

    Ms Khar: ... focused on that at all. But if people do, then you just have to. I think, the message that we carry especially in this relationship is far more important, and I like to believe even in New Delhi it was really the message which was also different, even if other things got more attention. In the year and a half you've seen, or in the year you've seen that the message was serious and the message was not of an individual who was younger may be, and woman who carried to the people of India. It was a message, it was a message which was coming certainly first and foremost from the government of Pakistan, but also all the political parties, you know, it's interesting, and that's why I say I feel proud to be a Pakistani, that there is today consensus amongst all the political parties in Pakistan, no matter where they are, right wing, left wing, middle of the road...

    Barkha Dutt: ...about progress with India

    Ms Khar: ...about progress with India, and we need it for our own stability. We need it for our own peace and we need it for regional peace and allow me to end on the note, that I think we should all be better off, we should all be better off understanding the fact that there is no single country which has emerged from a region which is in turmoil. It is the regions which have emerged, whether you look at the European Union, whether you look at the East Asia model, any of those models, in some ways even in South America, it is regions which have emerged and what is being, at some level, the critical mass over there, it has been intra- region trade, right. And therefore I look at, I view what we've been able to achieve with India within that context very, very positively. And the only thing I have to say is that if Pakistan can move forward and put aside its considered views, for almost decades, for four decades on certain issues, we would just hope the same reciprocity from the Indian side also. And we hope that the Indian public, by and large, as the Pakistani public will assist the process. The Indian media, by and large, as the Pakistani media will assist the process in creating the pathway, in creating the environment, in creating the atmospherics. And I do not at any point undermine the importance or underestimate the importance of the atmospherics and the environment, because as I said before, it is the environment and atmospherics which has in the past held us back. So a lot of politicians will tell you, we cannot do anything, which does not have a political support or the public opinion, has to be considered very seriously. I say we also have to have a role to contribute towards improving...

    Barkha Dutt: ...changing the environment of

    Ms Khar: ...and changing the environment and the public opinion and the public sentiment

    Barkha Dutt: Well, you have one of the toughest jobs in the world, thank you, pleasure talking to you, Hina Rabbani Khar.

    Ms Khar: Thank you, pleasure.

    Barkha Dutt: Thank you so much.

    Full transcript: No love lost for Hafiz Saeed, says Hina Rabbani Khar | NDTV.com
     
  10. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    85 pc Pakistanis want relaxation of Indo-Pak visa policies

    Over 85 per cent of Pakistanis want relaxation in visa policies between Pakistan and India, a new survey has revealed. This was disclosed by the Institute for Peace and Secular Studies during its signature campaign in five big cities of Pakistan.

    IPSS said that they had succeeded in getting over 85,000 people's signature and most of them had demanded that governments of Pakistan and India relax their visa regimes, the Daily Times reports.

    IPSS representatives said that they found "hardly one or two per cent" opposition to the issue.

    According to the paper, they also said that they had received threat calls from some extremists in society while some people tore documents through which they were requested to sign on the resolution regarding relaxation in visa policies.

    Earlier, while addressing the press conference, they demanded that Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar sign an agreement to relax the Pak-India visa regime.
     
  11. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    /\/\/\ Aren't 90% of them terrorists. :rolleyes:
     
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  12. Bushra Aziz

    Bushra Aziz Regular Member

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    Good statistics. Remaining 10%, who are not terrorists, are those who have recently illegally migrated to Pakistan. In order to bring them out from the stigma of terrorists, there is only one step formula..... just exclude "professing sentiments of religious fundamentalism" from one of the several hundred definitions of terrorists. Believing that non-Muslims are not Muslims and should be barred from entering Mosque or Holy places also accounts to terrorism in the eyes of western world....
     
  13. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    Next wave of illegal immigrants from failed state of Pakistan with high birth rate...
     
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  14. Bushra Aziz

    Bushra Aziz Regular Member

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    Very high... I don't know why Indian in Pakistan become rabbits and vice versa but in their own countries they try to follow China.
     
  15. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Posts reported for spreading hatred. There is no value in such posts and should be avoided.
     
  16. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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  17. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    [​IMG]


    marjawa gur kha ke:kiss::kiss::hot::hot::drool::drool:
     
  18. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well, it is known fact that 1000's of Pakistanis disappear after entering India on valid visas, also known fact that 26/11 terrorists did a recce while on visit to watch cricket. I think I have raised a valid point that with past experience over so many decades and given Pakistan's enmity towards India, confidence building measures that are one sided as the ones by GOI in allowing investments, easier visas, etc we are only asking for trouble.

    As for Pakistan being a failed state, it has appeared in the Failed States Index several times, this year with a slight improvement it has moved down from # 12 to # 13. Check out my link.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
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  19. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Why did he go there?
     
  20. natarajan

    natarajan Senior Member Senior Member

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    They know weakness of krishna and i think she can get anything done including visa norm
     
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