India-Pakistan to ease visa restrictions

During Krishna’s three day visit to Pakistan, a new visa policy between the two countries was signed on 08SEP12, easing restrictions on visitors from both countries.

Accordingly, there will be a single-entry visitor visa for a maximum period of six months but the stay cannot exceed three months at a time and for five places (currently limited to three places).

Under a new category, a visitor visa for a maximum of five specified places may be issued for a longer period of up to two years with multiple entries to senior citizens (above 65); spouse of a national of one country married to person of another country and children below 12 accompanying parent(s).

Under the existing visa agreement, the single entry visa is issued for three months for meeting relatives, friends, business or other legitimate purposes. However, the visa can be issued for a longer period not exceeding a year owing to the nature of work or business.

On other fronts, Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s foreign minister, promised a new approach to India and insisted it was not in Pakistan’s interest to allow 26/11 to “fester into an issue” in bilateral relations but countered India’s concern on the trial by pointing to the slow progress in the Samjhauta Express case where Pakistani tourists were targeted by Hindu extremists.


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