Hina Khar may pray at Jama Masjid, hopes for better ties

July 22nd, 2011 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Islamabad, July 22 (IANS) When Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar comes to New Delhi next week for talks with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, she may offer prayers at the Jama Masjid, the 17th century mosque located in old Delhi, official sources said.

Ahead of her visit, Khar, 34, Pakistan’s youngest and first woman foreign minister, has underlined that her priority would be to set a future direction for the bilateral relationship.

Accompanied by senior officials, Khar comes here Tuesday by a special flight.

She may go to Jama Masjid to offer prayers during the visit, well-informed sources said. There is, however, no confirmation of her visit to the monument. “Nothing is decided as yet. Her programme is evolving,” an official source said.

She is also likely to meet Hurriyat leaders at the residence of Pakistan’s high commissioner. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the head of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, is among Kashmiri leaders expected to meet Khar.

In an interview with Pakistan’s state-run PTV, Khar said it was a “positive step” that India was serious about the talks and was moving to institutionalise the process of negotiations with Pakistan. There was forward movement in recent talks between the two countries, she said.

It was the success of Pakistan to bring India back to the negotiating table, and the priority for the upcoming talks would be to set a future direction for the bilateral relationship, she added.

She said that Pakistan is pro-actively engaging with neighbouring countries, particularly Afghanistan and India, to achieve sustainable peace and stability in the region.

India and Pakistan Thursday had announced that talks between their foreign ministers will take place July 27.

Issues relating to cross-border terror will figure prominently in the discussions. The two sides are likely to unveil a slew of new confidence building measures to expand trade and travel across the divided halves of Kashmir.

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