Chiefs of CBI, IB, NIA to be part of Indo-Pak HS-level talks

Chiefs of CBI, IB, NIA to be part of Indo-Pak HS-level talks

In a departure from normal practice, heads of Intelligence Bureau, CBI and NIA will be part of a 12-member delegation led by Union Home Secretary R K Singh for talks with his Pakistan counterpart on May 24 and 25.

Earlier, the home secretary was accompanied by joint secretary level officers during his talks with his Pakistani counterpart in Islamabad.

S C Sinha, chief of NIA, an organisation formed in the aftermath of audacious 2008 Mumbai attacks, is likely to have tough time as it was probing the bomb blast case in Samjhuta train, oldest rail link between India and Pakistan.

As many as 68 people mostly Pakistanis were killed in Samjhauta Express blast in February 2007.

The dialogue, which will see inking of a pact on liberalised visa regime between the two countries, will also focus on better cooperation between the two countries in cases relating to terror incidents and taking forward Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) along Line of Control (LoC).

The 12-member delegation will include Intelligence Bureau Director Nehchal Sandhu and CBI Director A P Singh besides Sinha and other officials from External Affairs Ministry, official sources said.

The CBI is probing various trans-borders cases including the 1993 Bombay blast case and others related to pumping of fake Indian currency notes into India.

The two agencies are also authorised to liaison with Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on matters related to terrorism and garner evidence for trial in the Mumbai 26/11 attack case. The IB is responsible for gathering and dissemination of all terror related information.

During the parleys, which were being held after a delay of five months, a decision on issuance of multiple-entry and reporting-free visas for businessmen, allowing them to visit five cities instead of three as at present, will be taken.

An agreement to liberalise the visa procedures will benefit people of both the countries as it will also exempt elderly people from police reporting, allowing common people from either country to visit three earmarked cities instead of one and extending visa on arrival facility at Wagah border for senior citizens and children.

The Union Cabinet had given its nod for signing the pact on April 25.

The Indian delegation will also press for action from Pakistan to bring the Mumbai 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.

New Delhi will also ask Islamabad the fate of the dossiers of the most wanted, believed to be hiding in the neighbouring country, given by it while Pakistan may ask the progress into the Samjhauta Express case.

India will also take up with Pakistan the issue of early release of Sarabjit Singh, the condemned Indian prisoner currently lodged in a Lahore jail. This was conveyed by Home Minister P Chidambaram to Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur, who met him here today.

This will be the first meeting between Home Secretary Singh and his Pakistani counterpart K Siddique Akbar. Their predecessors Gopal K Pillai and Qamar Zaman Chaudhary had met in March last year in New Delhi.

The bilateral meeting will be held amid renewed engagements between India and Pakistan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had hosted a lunch for Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on April 8 when he was in India on a private visit. PTI

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