Home Minister Rajnath Singh's first visit to Islamabad for the SAARC Interior ministers meet on August 4 could well be a much toned down visit even as the proposed visit comes under impending threat from JuD chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
Singh is slated to fly to Islamabad for only a day on August 4 by a special aircraft and possibly return the same day, top officials told THE WEEK. It's a clear indication that Singh was not inclined to enjoy hospitality by staying overnight in Islamabad at a time when ties are strained between the two countries .
Singh is not being accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval nor the intelligence Bureau chief . Officers including Home Secretary and other officials of the MHA and MEA will be participating in the meeting. The Home Secretary will leave for Islamabad on August 3 while a joint secretary in-charge of international treaties has already left for Islamabad on Monday.
On the agenda is liberalisation of the visa regime for businessmen, journalists, sportsmen among others belonging to SAARC nations, SAARC visa exemption scheme which covers dignitaries, government officials, participants of SAARC meetings . The move comes in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resolve, when he took oath in the presence of his counterparts from SAARC nations in 2014, to ease travel restrictions for people living in the SAARC countries .
The SAARC home ministers meet will also take up trafficking of women and children and promotion of child welfare in South Asia through an extensive session on discussing the report prepared at the fifth meeting of the regional task force.
There is no fixed schedule in the agenda for a bilateral talk between India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the SAARC meet . If at all the two home ministers meet, it will be a chance meeting as no scheduled meeting is being planned, top sources said .