Visa-on-Arrival for Pakistani senior citizens put on hold

NEW DELHI (TIP): India has put on hold the Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) regime for senior citizens of Pakistan amid tensions on the Line of Control (LoC) over the killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers. The regime was to start on Tuesday but was not operationalised because of “technical issues” that are yet to be sorted out, an official said. The decision to defer the provision came a day after the Indian Army made a strong protest over the killing and mutilation of soldiers at a flag meeting with the Pakistan Army. India has conveyed its serious concern to Pakistan. Army chief Gen Bikram Singh on Monday termed the incident as a “gruesome and an unpardonable act”.

Official sources said agencies had sought some clarifications on the visaon- arrival and one of the issues raised was whether Pakistani citizens needed a sponsor in India. The new visa agreement between India and Pakistan was operationalised by India’s Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik in Delhi last month. The agreement allowed for relaxations in visitor and business visas. The visa-onarrival facility for people above 65 was supposed to start on January 14 at Attari and Wagah border check-posts. Sources said no new date had been decided for operationalising the VoA scheme for senior citizens from Pakistan.

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