Pakistan, India To Launch Ferry, Air Services
Pakistan and India agreed to ease the existing restrictive visa regime between the two countries, launch a Karachi-Mumbai ferry service and start daily flights connecting Islamabad and Delhi, as the foreign ministers of both countries wrapped up the latest round of peace talks by promising to continue their dialogue.
Both countries also signed an agreement which introduces a number of measures aimed at easing the travel of business persons, tourists, pilgrims, the elderly and children, thereby facilitating contacts between peoples of the two countries.
Under the visa accord, traders from both countries will be allowed to visit 10 cities, while tourists will be given a visa for five cities. Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna signed the agreement. The Joint Ministerial Commission has been activated after more than seven years.
Pakistan and India committed that they would not be held hostage by history but instead, in a departure from the past, move ahead.
Pakistan made an impassioned plea to India not to be held back by history but to look towards the future and build on convergences. India immediately reciprocated these sentiments. "We will build on convergences and will not brood on divergences. We must not be held hostage by history. We must learn from missed opportunities and must commit not to lose further opportunities," Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar stated at a joint press conference with her Indian counterpart SM Krishna at the Foreign Office.
Khar said with determination and political will, both countries could address the issues of divergence including Jammu and Kashmir‚ Siachin and Sir Creek. She said the aspirations of the Kashmiri people must be accommodated and a quest for a peaceful settlement required that Kashmiris be associated in one way or other with the dialogue process.
Krishna agreed. "Let us walk the talk together. Let us not look back, as you have rightly said, let us not be held hostage to whatever has happened earlier. I think we will have to keep our sight to the future," he said, adding the talks were cordial, frank and positive.