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New Indian visa regime

January 19, 2013

IT was with half joy and half disappointment that I read in newspapers (Jan 15) that the ‘new visa regime’ had gone effective.

It was a moment of joy because, though not an ideal arrangement, it was nevertheless a great step forward in the direction of providing a semblance of rationality and compassion to the awful ordeal the members of divided families, especially elderly people, faced in meeting their kith and kin and friends of yesteryear living across the political divide.

It was a moment of sorrow because the new arrangement fell too short of the expectation of the people.

But before I could absorb the impact it would have on the people concerned, we are informed later that the prime minister of India, in his wisdom, has thought it fit to roll back the entire scheme following the border skirmishes in Kashmir If the prime minister of India considers that by suspending the ‘yet to be enforced’ new visa regime he is punishing the Pakistani government or the Pakistani armed forces, who in his view are responsible for these skirmishes, he is sadly mistaken.

The Pakistan government and its armed forces have the least stakes in the enforcement of the new visa regime and they will not feel its pinch.

The pinch will be felt by the ordinary people of India and Pakistan of the undivided families and these ordinary people have nothing to do with the current border skirmishes along the Line of Control.

May God give him the wisdom to look at his decision dispassionately.