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With Thanks : First Post India
In a bid to ensure more people to people contact, India is contemplating easing visa regulation for Pakistan nationals. With the cabinet note on the issue set to be tabled in a few days, it might be a couple of weeks before visa regulations are eased.
The new regulation ensures that Pakistan nationals on a visiting visa have wider access to the country, the new norms will allow Pakistan nationals access to five Indian cities as opposed to three cities earlier.
Unlike in the past where Pakistan nationals were not allowed to enter and exist India from different cities, the new norms ensure that Pakistan nationals can enter and exit from different cities in the country.
India has also eased business visa rules for Pakistani businessmen. Business establishments with a turn over of half a million dollar or more will benefit with the new visa norms.
The new visa norms are expected to help students, senior citizens, business men, tourists and group tourists. The new visa regime however does not amend any restrictions for religious tourists.
India has extended the olive branch to Pakistan although there has been no forward movement by Pakistan on the issue of Hafiz Saeed, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, and more importantly 26/11 attacks in India.
India hasn’t heard from the judicial panel from Pakistan, probing the 26/11 attacks and Ajmal Kasab’s role in the episode, that was expected to come to India earlier this month. A Pakistan official had earlier this year said that the probe panel will visit India on February 3.
The new visa norms come in the backdrop of Pakistan easing its stand on the Kashmir issue, with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, suggesting that all issues with India be resolved through dialogue, diplomacy, prudent policy and national consensus. Gilani said said Pakistan and India cannot afford another war in the 21st century and described talks as the only way forward.