Wagah Border: India's visa liberalisation policy for Pakistani senior citizens did not see any takers on Tuesday, due to which the policy was put on hold, according to sources in the Ministry of External Affairs. Even as tension prevailed at the Line of Control, sources say there was no change in the visa on arrival policy for Pakistan, but there could be some technical issue at the local level.
Sources add that not enough Pakistani citizens claimed for visa on arrival facility. Despite the tension at the Line of Control, India is continuing with its visa liberalisation to Pakistanis allowing senior citizens, to get visas on arrival at the Wagah Border.
India has proposed that Pakistani citizens above the age of 65 years will not be required to report to the police. They will be allowed to move freely across India. However they will not be allowed to visit Kashmir, Punjab and Kerala. The visa issued will be for a 45 day stay and Pakistani senior citizens will be required to enter and exit India via the Wagah Border on foot.
"With the operationalisation of the new Bilateral India Pakistan Visa Agreement 2012, the provision of visa on arrival at Wagha-Attari immigration check post for Pakistani passport holders more than 65 years of age comes into effect from January 15," the Indian High Commission said in a statement in Islamabad.
Visas on arrival will be issued daily between 10 am and 4 pm to senior citizens crossing on foot via Wagah. They will be allowed to "visit any place in India, except Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Kerala and other prohibited areas". The visa on arrival facility can be availed only "to visit India to meet friends or relatives" and it cannot be used for business, medical, conference, employment, pilgrimage or any other purpose.
For these categories, applicants should approach the Indian High Commission and apply for regular visas. A Pakistani citizen can avail of the visa on arrival facility only two times a year and the visas will be non-extendable and non-convertible. The senior citizens will be allowed to enter and exit only via Wagah on foot.
The senior citizens will have to fill a form and present a copy of their National Identity Card, a utility bill as proof of residence, Pakistani passport, two passport-size photographs, confirmation of booking if staying in a hotel and the name and address of the person being visited in India. The fee for a visa on arrival is Rs 100.
With additional information from PTI