NEW DELHI: India will press Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik, due to pay an official visit here from December 14-16, for dates of the proposed ministry of home affairs team's visit to Pakistan for finalizing terms of reference (ToR) of the second Pakistani judicial commission that seeks to cross-examine key 26/11 witnesses here.
India had proposed the MHA team's Pakistan visit over three weeks ago and sought an assurance from top law officers of the neighbouring country regarding admissibility of evidence to be gathered by the second judicial panel. The assurance, home ministry sources told TOI, was felt necessary as the information collected by the first Pakistani judicial panel from the four key 26/11 witnesses — the magistrate who recorded executed 26/11 attacker Ajmal Kasab's statement, the 26/11 investigating officer and two doctors who conducted post-mortem on the nine slain terrorists — was rejected by the Pakistani courts. The court said the information had little "evidential value" as the witnesses had not been cross-examined.
An MHA official on Saturday confirmed that Malik's will be a full-fledged official visit, with a delegation of senior officers traveling along with him to assist in bilateral engagement that will cover the entire gamut of issues relating to internal security, particularly terrorism, action against 26/11 perpetrators based in Pakistan and pending red-corner notices. The visit will see operationalization of the new Indo-Pak visa regime, under which multi-city visas can be issued for up to five cities.
Sources said the itinerary for Malik's visit is likely to be finalized on Monday. It will be recalled that the Pakistani interior minister had expressed his desire to visit the Taj Mahal and the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer.
President seeks cordial relations with Pakistan
India wants a conducive atmosphere to be created to tackle 'more complex and difficult issues' with Pakistan, President Pranab Mukherjee told a visiting Pakistani parliamentary delegation. "India desires friendly and cooperative relations with Pakistan... an appropriate conducive atmosphere needs to be created to tackle the more complex, difficult issues," Mukherjee said when a delegation led by Chairman of Pakistan's Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari called on him at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday. He welcomed efforts to achieve full normalization of bilateral trade.