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Oddity in visa policy

Published Sep 17, 2012 02:50am


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THE much-awaited changes in the visa policy signed by the representatives of Pakistan and India are more advantageous to businessmen than to the common people. The only two advantages the lesser mortals will have is that they will be able to visit five cities instead of three on each trip and they will have the option of entering and exiting from different places.

As for senior citizens, they will hardly have any advantage apart from being exempted from police reporting. They will get visa on arrival only if they take the rigorous land route and cross the border at the Wagah-Attari checkposts on foot. But those taking flights to Delhi or Mumbai will have to go through the visa rigmaroles as in the past.

The much publicised concessions of visa being issued on arrival for senior citizens provided they cross the border on foot doesn’t mean much. If a 65-plus person has to go from Karachi or Hyderabad to Delhi he (or she) will have to take a train or a flight to Lahore, take a taxi for Wagah, cross the border on foot, hire a taxi for Amritsar and then board a train or a flight, subject to the availability of seats, to New Delhi. The return journey will be just as cumbersome. Those travelling by air or train will have to apply for visa in much the same old way.

It is also time Pakistan allowed India to reopen its consulate in Karachi. If India is unable to provide accommodation to the Pakistan government to open a visa office in Mumbai, the next best option would be Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh).

Finally, one is baffled why our High Commission in New Delhi is not authorised to accept visa applications couriered from visa-seekers in different parts of the huge country. Poor visa applicants (or their representatives) have to submit their applications in person at the counter in the High Commission and get their passports, with or without stamped visa, back in person.

The Indian High Commission, on the other hand, accepts visa applications if sent by one of the two designated courier services in Pakistan.

ASIF NOORANI                  Karachi


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Comments (21) Closed

Murtuza Babrawala Sep 17, 2012 06:16pm
Because they are Europeans and most of them are White and sensible. We are Desi , we cannot forget our past and we have no sense of community and with this senseless bitterness we are also showing that we are lesser humans.
masroor durrani Sep 18, 2012 06:23pm
your comments are of a unrealistic. you are living in a global village
koushik Sep 19, 2012 12:16am
Now if your idea of Vacation is ''will I come back'' adventure type..Fine. Indians by nature are NOT so daring and adventurous. I will have difficulties to appreciate the beauty of the hunza valley or makran fearing for my life in a country where its own citizens (based on religion and sect) life is at peril.
koushik Sep 19, 2012 12:36am
happy days...
Khurram Saleem Sep 17, 2012 11:45am
If Europeans can forget the hundreds of years of fighting and hate and open their borders to become a community rather than an individual nation, why can't we?
koushik Sep 19, 2012 12:31am
Dear Sir, How about applying the same law and obtain some tangible results within your national sphere...Should be easier I think. If it works we can think of siphoning your expertise.
koushik Sep 19, 2012 12:35am
Mr Shaf, We have our laws and its applicable to all citizens from countries that allows dual citizenship. The US state dept. has no role to play.
Imran Ahsan Mirza Sep 17, 2012 03:19am
There should be open borders and no visas.
masroor durrani Sep 17, 2012 04:42am
I and my family are Pakistani Americans and have visited India before coming to USA. We applied for Visa visiting India on the sad demise of aunt who was my mother-in law. We were denied visa and advised to apply from Pakistan on Pakistani Passport. How come. I did not see any facility for the persons of my category. I emailed the Honorable Foreign Minister of India Mr Krishna inviting his attention on this issue. I am hopeful of an explanation from concerned quarters. Masroor Durrani USA
Tony Sep 17, 2012 02:47pm
So you want to have the cake and eat it too! Why did you guys demand a separate Pakistan, if you don't want visas and open borders? Before partition, it was one country with no borders!
Pman Sep 17, 2012 03:52pm
Unfortunately there was a gentleman called David Headley who was someone whose situation was not too different from yours. You cannot blame India for protecting itself.
chintu Sep 17, 2012 04:08pm
pakis should not be allowed to visit india at all. all relations should be put on hold and the border sealed for say 30 years. Hopefully in this time pakistan will become a more saner place and join the comity of nations.
sid Sep 17, 2012 04:15pm
The reply is David Coleman Headly incident?????He was also a Pakistani American............MEA is more sensitive towards overseas Pakistanis
Shaf H Sep 17, 2012 05:04pm
Masroor, as you are aware. India has a strange policy that Americans (and other dual-citizens with Pakistan) have to apply on their Pakistani passport. The only way to apply on one's American passport is to renounce their Pakistani citizenship. Merely not renewing their Pakistani passport does not end one's Pakistani citizenship. Only renouncing it at a Consulate achieves this. The US State Department is aware of this discrimination against dual-citizens (Paksitan and US) and has stated that it is helpless to influence India's visa policy as it is India's internal matter.
koushik Sep 18, 2012 12:49am
I never see the same eagerness from Indian citizens to visit Pakistan. Ahh!! Our beloved Congress and its appeasement policy...
Manoj Sep 17, 2012 01:46pm
very well said Khurram.. I wish we have more ppl like you on earth..
Krish Sep 17, 2012 10:00am
Among South Asian countries, it is Sri Lanka that has taken the initiative - from the beginning of this year, it is a complete on-line visa process, and the electronic paper visa ( similar to the UAE visa ) comes through either same or the next day. Only by putting such a visa regime in place will the countries in South Asia be able to cope with the huge volumes that one can anticipate now.
Manoj Sep 18, 2012 09:18am
Thats wrong.. Lot of Indian people would love to visit Pakistan on a vacation...just that hardened positions make it difficult to get visas.. a visit to hunza valley is way better than blowing money in vegas.. we should not have prejudices just because of bitter past..
Manoj Sep 18, 2012 12:11pm
it is utterly immature. how can u debar a whole nation's population for deeds of few.. there are bizarre cases of prejudices in India too.. more people should be allowed to helps.. if sanity is the criteria, all developed countries should be sealed first.. they are the ones who have looted Asia and Africa without any sense...
dr vimal raina Sep 18, 2012 01:46pm
Maybe Tony Imran Ashan Mirza is an Indian, maybe not. Maybe the Muslim name confused you.Maybe you are really prejudiced. A Muslim name may mean an Indian Muslim.
Husain Jan Sep 17, 2012 08:39am
Yes, indeed the so-called facilities to Senior Citizens are not worth any thing as nicely explained in detail by Mr Asif Noorani. It is baffling as to why seniors are not allowed the visa on arrival at Mumbai and / or Delhi airports. Common men, even the seniors, with relatives on either side will continue to suffer as before. One more thing : The age limit of 65 and over also needs to be reviewed and in case the wife is travelling with husband her age limit be reduced to over 55 in order to facilitate the wife to accompany her husband as a senior citizen. Hope the authorities will kindly look into this aspect and do the needful soon.