Islamabad: The home and interior secretaries of India and Pakistan began crucial two-day talks here today, with the discussions expected to focus on a relaxed visa regime and the prosecution of the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks blamed on the Lashkar-e-Toiba.
The Indian delegation led by home secretary RK Singh and the Pakistani team led by interior secretary Khwaja Siddique Akbar gathered at a hotel in the heart of Islamabad for the talks.
The last round of talks between the Home and Interior Secretaries was held in New Delhi in March last year.
Ahead of the talks, Indian officials said the two sides had given the finishing touches to a new relaxed visa regime that will for the first time include tourist visas, visas on arrival for senior citizens and children and year-long multiple-entry visas for businessmen.
The two secretaries are expected to ink the pack by the conclusion of the talks tomorrow, official sources said.
However, some reports in the Pakistani media claimed that the visa agreement is unlikely to be signed as the Pakistani cabinet had not approved it at its last meeting yesterday.
The reports said interior minister Rehman Malik had not brought the agreement before the cabinet for approval.
An unnamed interior ministry official was quoted as saying by The Nation newspaper that the authorities had decided to delay the signing of the new visa agreement till the next meeting of the home and interior secretaries.
The two countries have been working on the draft of the new visa agreement for over a year.