Ahead of talks between the foreign ministers of India and
Pakistan, the two countries will have time for a bit of track-II
diplomacy when a Pakistani parliamentary delegation, led by
National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, interacts with Indian MPs
here later this week.
Mirza, the first woman speaker in the Muslim world, will lead the
Pakistani delegation which will participate in the fifth summit
conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and
The four-day conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh here Saturday.
The themes chosen for discussions at the conference include
'Consolidating Democracy, Strengthening trust between Parliament
and People, and Sustainable Development in SAARC Countries - The
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has set up a reception committee for
the conference, with K. Rahman Khan, Rajya Sabha's deputy
chairman, as its chairman and DEputy Speaker Karia Munda as the
co-chairman. The committee comprises 38 members, including
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pawan Kumar Bansal, besides
sitting and former members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
Besides meeting Indian MPs, the Pakistani parliamentarians are
likely to meet a swathe of civil society, signalling improved
atmospherics after India resumed dialogue with Pakistan in
February this year.
During the talks in Islamabad last month, the foreign secretaries
of the two countries agreed that people were at the heart of the
relationship and decided to step up interaction between their
civil society, sportspersons and parliamentarians.
India and Pakistan will hold talks between their foreign ministers
in New Delhi later this month.