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Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi to visit India on Friday

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
June 26, 2008 20:56 IST
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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will begin a four-day official visit to India on Friday to carry forward the peace process between the two countries and address outstanding issues like Kashmir.
Qureshi, who is visiting India at the invitation of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, will hold talks with the country's political leadership to further bilateral cooperation.
"The visit will help Pakistan and India carry forward the peace process and address outstanding issues," said foreign office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq.
During his meeting with his Indian counterpart, Qureshi will discuss "issues of mutual interest and explore the possibility of furthering bilateral cooperation for the common benefit and prosperity of the two countries", Sadiq told a weekly news briefing.
Qureshi will be accompanied by a six-member delegation comprising senior officials and recently appointed Ambassador-at-Large Nasir Ali Khan. Qureshi  is scheduled to hold talks with Mukherjee at Hyderabad House on Friday.
Qureshi is also expected to call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia on Friday. Qureshi will also meet a delegation of Kashmiri leaders in New Delhi, Sadiq said.
A delegation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is currently visiting Pakistan at Qureshi's invitation for consultations with the top Pakistani leadership ahead of the Foreign Minister's visit to India.
Qureshi will also travel to Ajmer, where he will visit the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, and Chandigarh, where he will participate in a meet aimed at increasing cooperation between India's Punjab state and Pakistan's Punjab province.
Qureshi will deliver the keynote address at an event organized in Chandigarh by the Centre for Rural and Industrial Development, which cooperates with the Farmers Association of Pakistan, an organisation the Foreign Minister is closely associated with.
The visit will pave the way for the fifth round of the India-Pakistan composite dialogue. Qureshi's talks with Mukherjee will be a follow-up to discussions held in Islamabad last month to resume the composite dialogue after a gap of several months caused by the domestic political situation in Pakistan.
The meeting between the two foreign ministers was preceded by a meeting of the India-Pakistan Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism in Islamabad on June 24.
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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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