Pakistan foreign minister coming to India Friday

June 26th, 2008 - 11:56 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) Four months after a civilian government took charge in Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is coming here on a four-day visit beginning Friday to push forward the peace process. Qureshi will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism, regional stability and cross-border confidence-building measures to enhance people-to-people contacts between the two countries.

The talks will set the tone for the fifth round of composite dialogue which is likely to be launched by the foreign secretaries of the two countries around mid-July.

The two foreign ministers met in Islamabad May 21 to review the fourth round of composite dialogue and resolved to jointly fight terrorism and pursue confidence building through more trade and transport links.

Qureshi will call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday evening and convey Islamabad’s readiness to improve ties with New Delhi.

He will meet veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose tenure as premier saw the resumption of the peace process in January 2004, at his residence Saturday.

The Oxford-educated Qureshi, who famously called for a “grand reconciliation” between India and Pakistan on all issues, including Kashmir, last month, will also meet the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and leader of the opposition in parliament L.K. Advani and former foreign minister Jaswant Singh.

Qureshi will Sunday visit Jaipur and Ajmer - home to one of the holiest sufi shrines. He will leave for Chandigarh Sunday evening where he will discuss ways of intensifying inter-Punjab trade and connectivity.

Qureshi will return to Islamabad Monday after wrapping up his first visit to India as the foreign minister of Pakistan.

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