Tarique Anwar, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi, Mar 29 : The two day India-Pakistan home/interior secretaries level talks concluded in New Delhi yesterday.
The Indian delegation was led by Home Secretary Gopal K. Pillai while the Pakistan delegation was headed by Interior Secretary Qamar Zaman Chaudhary. The two sides took forward the dialogue process on several issues and came out with a joint statement.
Following is the text of the joint statement:
“The meeting was held in pursuance of the decision taken in Thimphu (Bhutan) in February 2011 by the Governments of Pakistan and India, to resume the dialogue process and in the backdrop of Bilateral meeting between the Home Minister of India and the Interior Minister of Pakistan held in Islamabad on June 25-26, 2010.
The meeting was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere.
Both sides exchanged views on the decisions taken in the last round of Talks held in Islamabad in 2008. It was agreed that it was important for both sides to remain engaged on outstanding issues and henceforth the Home/Interior Secretary level Talks would be held bi-annually.
Both sides agreed to set up a Hotline between Home Secretary of India and Interior Secretary of Pakistan to facilitate real time information sharing with respect to terrorist threats.
Both sides reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirmed the need to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice.
Pakistani side provided updates on the ongoing trial and investigation in Pakistan on the Mumbai Terror Attacks. Pakistan conveyed its readiness, in principle, based upon the principle of comity and reciprocity, to entertain a Commission from India with respect to Mumbai Terror Attack investigations. Modalities and composition in this connection will be worked out through diplomatic channels. Dates for the visit of the Judicial Commission from Pakistan in connection with Mumbai attack trial will be conveyed by India within four-six weeks. NIA and FIA will continue to cooperate in the Mumbai Terror Attack investigations.
India provided information on the on-going Samjhautha Express blast case investigation. It was also agreed that after filing of report in the court, updated information will be shared with the concerned Pakistan authorities.
Both sides noted and welcomed the release of prisoners and fishermen by each other since the last round of Talks. It was agreed that both sides would release by April 15, 2011 those civilian prisoners/fishermen who have completed their sentence, whose nationality status has been confirmed by the respective Governments and whose travel documents have been received. Complete list of prisoners in each others’ custody will be exchanged by both sides on July 1, 2011.
Both sides agreed that the problem and issues of the inadvertent crossers should be viewed sympathetically, and in a focused and sensitive manner. Accordingly, both sides also agreed to task the Coast Guard of India and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency to work on setting up a mechanism for release of inadvertent crossers (fishermen) and their boats on the same lines as the inadvertent crossers on land. The Group will submit its report to the Home/Interior Secretaries before the next round of Talks.
Both sides commended the work done by the Judicial Committee on Prisoners for the release, repatriation and humane treatment of prisoners and agreed on the need for its continuation. The next meeting of the Judicial Committee would be held from April 19-23, 2011 in Pakistan.
Both sides shared the concern of the growing menace of Narcotics/Drugs and agreed that cooperation between NCB of India and ANF of Pakistan should be enhanced to ensure an effective control on drug trafficking. It was further agreed that Talks between DG, NCB and DG ANF would be held annually. Indian side accepted the invitation for DG NCB to visit Pakistan in May 2011 for talks with DG ANF.
The ‘MoU on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics Drugs/Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals and related matters’ as finalized will be formally signed at the next DG level meeting of NCB-ANF in May 2011.
It was decided that CBI and FIA will schedule a meeting to work out the technical details of moving forward on issues of, human trafficking, counterfeit currency, cyber crimes and Red Corner Notices (RCNs).
Both sides agreed to set up a Joint Working Group to examine the modalities for streamlining the visa procedure/modalities and for giving a final shape to revision of the Bilateral Visa Agreement.
The Interior Secretary of Pakistan invited the Home Secretary of India for the next Home/Interior Secretary level Talks in Pakistan. The invitation was accepted.
Both sides agreed that the visit of the Interior Minister of Pakistan to India will take place on mutually convenient dates, to be decided through diplomatic channels.”