ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday urged India to reconsider suspending new visa regime for elderly persons as the initiative was aimed at facilitating citizens of both the countries.

“I would request Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and my Indian counterpart, Sushilkumar Shinde to consider my request and not to let the whole effort go down to the drain,” he said.

Talking to reporters here, the minister said people had termed the initiative as a great step forward in the direction of providing a semblance of rationality and compassion to the members of divided families, especially elderly people of 65 years and above age to meet their kith and kin and friends of yesteryears.  In the first phase, the enforcement of new visa regime for elderly persons was scheduled to start from January 15. Malik said, “Agreements exist between the two countries. We are moving forward in trade. We are moving forward with composite dialogue and the Indian side should reconsider the visa regime.”

He further said that they had been facing violations on Line of Control (LoC) from Indian side and he must say there is a long list of violations made by India on LoC. “If there is anything wrong or there are allegations we can discuss them on different forums,” he added.

On a question about raising extremism in India, Rehman Malik said he had stated three years back that the extremism would increase in India. But this is purely an internal affair of India. However, he avoided giving any comment and said  Indian government was capable enough to take action against the issue.

Answering a question, he appreciated the initiative of federal government for constituting a Judicial Commission comprising former judge of the Supreme Court, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal over the death of Kamran Faisal, investigation officer of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to ascertain the facts behind and cause of his death.

He said the single-member judicial commission, formed on the basis of different media reports, will submit its report within two weeks and added the administration has been asked to extend full cooperation to the commission so that it could complete the task within stipulated time and without any trouble.

When asked about upcoming general elections, he said these were also held after the tragic death of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, adding that there is no doubt Pakistan has been facing scourge of terrorism.

“I am of the view the elections should be held on time despite all odds because democracy can only be strengthened and flourished on the basis of votes,” the minister said.

Rehman Malik said the ruling government of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) inherited bad governance, terrorism and weak economy but through its wise policies it managed to control the things during last five years.

He said the security situation has been improved, economy is on right track and assured that the government would try its best to leave better atmosphere.

Regarding security threats to Islamabad and Peshawar from Taliban, he said provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been informed and hoped that they have taken security measures. He said the security agencies have timely taken measures in federal capital.