Senate: (Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan, India to meet on Jan 14 or 15: Senate told)

ISLAMABAD: Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the Senate on Tuesday that as per decision of the two Prime Ministers, Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India would meet on January 14th or 15th to prepare a schedule for comprehensive dialogue.

He was making a statement in the Senate regarding short visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Pakistan on December 25. The Adviser said the Foreign Secretaries would draw up a map for the next six months for talks on ten identified subjects.

He said the dialogue process is challenging as it involves difficult decision and important issues. He said the Prime Ministers of two countries have met five times and the warmth of relations created by Lahore meeting would hopefully have an impact on the formal dialogue.

He however cautioned against unrealistic expectations from the dialogue process and said there would be progress on some issues soon while it will take time for progress on others.

Sartaj Aziz said the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was necessarily a goodwill visit and it has been welcomed by majority of people in Pakistan and India as well as the international community. He dispelled the impression that the entourage of the Indian Prime Minister visited Lahore without any visa.

Responding to a point raised by leader of the opposition Aitizaz Ahsan, the Adviser said no secret meeting was held between the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India at Kathmandu.

Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan while replying to a question said that land ports are to be set up on Pak-Afghan border at Chaman and Torkham to regulate flow of goods and people. He said a Land Port Authority Bill would be introduced in the parliament soon for the purpose.

Earlier, Chairman Raza Rabbani asked Minister for Defence to make a statement on the recent visit of the Army Chief to Kabul on Thursday.

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