India urged to re-open consulate in Karachi

May 18th, 2009 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez Musharraf Karachi, May 18 (IANS) India was Monday urged to re-open its consulate in this southern port city to ease the woes of visa seekers who now have to journey to Islamabad to obtain the document.
Karachi ‘nazim’ (administrator) Mustafa Kamal made the suggestion during his meeting here with new Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal

Kamal said that “at present conditions in the region were not good and, therefore, steps were needed to improve the relations between India and Pakistan so that both could counter the situation with mutual action and consulation,” Geo TV reported.

“The Indian high commissioner appreciated the nazim’s contribution towards development in Karachi and said there was need to carry out speedy development in the cities of developing countries and for this the example of Karachi could be kept in view,” it added.

With some 70 percent of Pakistanis seeking Indian visas being from Sindh, the two countries had agreed during the visit to New Delhi of then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in April 2005 to re-open consulates in Karachi and Mumbai.

However, the issue has been bogged down over the allotment of land for the consulate in Mumbai, where the Pakistani government is seeking the allotment of Jinnah House in the city’s upscale Malabar Hill neighbourhood that was once owned by Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

India has turned down the demand, saying Jinnah House falls in the category of “evacuee property” that was confiscated when its owners migrated to Pakistan after the sub-continent was partitioned in 1947.

The Pakistani government had in December 1994 ordered the Indian consulate in Karachi to shut, saying it “cannot allow a centre for sabotage, subversion and terrorism to continue to operate within Pakistan”.

Terming the charge as “vague and baseless”, then Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan S.K. Lambah had said: “We do not want to feel unwanted and the winding up process has started”.

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