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Nawaz’s stance and Indian attitude

September 17, 2013

THIS refers to the letter ‘Nawaz’s stance and Indian attitude’ (Sept 1). I have been to India many times; so while I agree with the writer on the difficulties in obtaining an Indian visa, I would disagree with the writer on many other things mentioned by him. I never had to sign or fill a number of forms every time I embarked on an Indian trip. I am asked to fill a simple disembarkation form which is common practice throughout the world.

I agree that reporting arrival or departure is another hassle for a traveler, but maybe the writer’s friend whom he referred to in his letter didn’t tell him that there is not just one reporting office in India.

Pakistani travellers have to report in the relevant office of the city they are visiting. In my case, I reported in Agra, Lucknow and Bhopal and none of the offices was located in congested places. Yes, the offices and the staff were no different from ours. Some travellers are made to wait for hours but that has nothing to do with them being Pakistani; rather it is part of our traditional ‘babu’ culture.

I would like the writer to pay a visit to the foreigners’ registration office in Karachi and see its condition and how South Asian travellers have to wait for hours before their arrival or departure is registered. Yes, the situation is often different in case of a ‘gora sahib’.

The writer also asked as to why the Indian authorities don’t automate the process of registration. Now let me tell the writer that the entire immigration process at the arrival and departure points in India is fully automated, as it is in Pakistan.

They are two steps ahead of us because first, they issue machine readable visa stickers and secondly because, unlike us, they use locally-manufactured computer hardware at their arrival and departure points.

I respect the writer’s stance on Indo-Pak relations even though I don’t agree with him. How I wish he had consulted some frequent traveller before writing to Dawn.