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May 26, 2012 at 10:42am IST

Indo-Pak visa pact delay: People bear the brunt

Islamabad: The inconclusive India - Pakistan talks on easing visa rules have once again shown how it is the common man who gets affected the most.

Sumaira Fareed runs a chain of salons and boutiques in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lahore. She is eager to visit India. "I really want to see the jewellery and the saris there. I want to see the Taj Mahal too," Sumaira said.

ALSO SEE India disappointed as visa pact with Pak deferred

Many others like Sumaira across the Indo-Pak border were looking forward to the liberalised visa regime. But Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik's announcement on Friday have put their plans on hold, for now.

"We have agreed in principle but the visa agreement won't be signed this time," Rehman Malik said.

If the visa agreement not coming through was a disappointment, issues of terrorism were the potential deal-breaker.

Seven hours of negotiation behind closed doors also could not clinch the visa agreement. Terrorism etc continued to plague the talks. The final joint statement laid out an agreement to consider a joint mutual legal assistance treaty, a joint effort by NIA and FIA to bring the 26/11 perpetrators to justice, completing modalities to establish a hotline between the Indo-Pak home secretaries and an Indo-Pak Coast Guard Chiefs' meet in June to sort out fishermen-related issues.

Pakistan has also assured that it will consider the Indian government's request to release Sarabjeet Singh. But with the visa agreement going awry, and no concrete action being taken against 26/11 accused Hafiz Saeed, Home Secretary RK Singh may have to return empty-handed.