Group visa for Pakistani nationals put on hold
New Delhi: India on Thursday put on hold the proposed group tourist visa facility to Pakistani nationals from Friday in the wake of growing unease in bilateral ties following the killing of two Indian soldiers along the LoC and Wednesday`s suicide attack in Srinagar.
"We are not going to operationalise the group visa facility to be offered to Pakistani nationals from tomorrow," a senior Home Ministry official told PTI.
No official reason has been given for the latest move.
The two countries had agreed to operationalise the group tourist visa facility to be offered to each other`s citizens from March 15.
Government has already put on hold visa on arrival facility for senior citizens -- part of the new relaxed India-Pakistan visa agreement -- hours before its operationalisation on January 15 following heightened tension along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week had said that the barbaric killing of Indian soldiers in Kashmir had cast a shadow on bilateral relations and asked Pakistan to create a conducive environment to take the normalisation process forward.
Singh had said he was yet to see any "tangible progress" in dismantling of terror infrastructure in Pakistan and bringing to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks.
Earlier also, the Prime Minister had said that it cannot be "business as usual" between the neighbours following the LoC incident.
Government is understood to have factored yesterday`s suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Srinagar, suspected to be carried out by Pakistan-based terrorist groups, before taking the decision.
Five CRPF jawans were killed and 10 others injured in the incident.
According to the visa pact, group tourist visa would be offered for a period of 30 days to tourists travelling in groups with not less than 10 members and not more than 50 members, organised by approved tour operators or travel agents.
The visa on arrival for Pakistani nationals above 65 years was supposed to start at the Attari Integrated Check Post.
The new visa agreement between India and Pakistan was signed in September last year to ease cross-border travel as part of a number of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).
Some clauses of the relaxed visa regime like multiple- entry and reporting-free visas for businessmen and allowing them to travel to five cities instead of the earlier three were operationalised when Pakistan`s Interior Minister Rehman Malik visited New Delhi in December 2012.
An Indian soldier was beheaded by Pakistani troops while the mutilated body of another was found in January along the LoC. New Delhi had lodged a strong protest over the killings.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- What Muslims think about Ram Mandir issue?
- Anti-Romeo squad launched: Has moral policing started in UP?
- Martyrs' Day: Nation remembers Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru for their sacrifice
- London terrorist attack leaves five dead, including police officer
- Do not put unnecessary pressure on police: PM Modi tells UP BJP MPs
- Hukumdev Narain Yadav to be new Vice-President of India?
- 400 Trinamool Congress members including many TMC stalwarts join BJP in Tripura
- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru were hanged on 23 March 1931 – This is how PM Modi paid tribute today
- Unable to meet educational expenses, Muslim girl writes to PM Narendra Modi – Know what happened next
- Mulayam Singh Yadav's son Prateek, his daughter-in-law Aparna meet UP CM Yogi Adityanath - Know why