Manmohan’s Pakistan visit unlikely soon


As India and Pakistan discuss implementation of new cross-LoC confidence building measures (CBMs), it seems increasingly unlikely that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Pakistan will happen any time soon, with progress stalled on key areas like trade and visa.
According to The Indian Express, while the dialogue process continues ploddingly, the visit of Indian PM to Pakistan now seems highly unlikely.
Singh has already made it clear that he would only travel to Pakistan if there was any “tangible result”, but there does not seem any sign of much progress in any of the issues.
Initially, Pakistan seemed ready to move full-steam on issues like trade and visa liberalisation, but lately Islamabad has been insisting that there should be progress across “all” issues, which include Siachen and Sir Creek, the paper reported.
“The PM is not an independent actor to go to Pakistan, when there is no progress in any area,” said a senior government official.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had lamented that Singh could visit much earlier during the term of former Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani as both of them had established a personal rapport.
The current term of the government of President Asif Ali Zardari ends next March with elections normally expected to be held in June. But, with the Pakistan SC again giving notice to the new PM, Raja Pervez Ashraf, on initiating corruption cases against Zardari, elections could be held much earlier – thereby not giving much window of time for a visit by the Indian PM.