Amritsar: Despite fresh tension with Pakistan over the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers, the government will take a historic step to issue visas on arrival to senior citizens of Pakistan, from Tuesday.
According to the immigration officials, the is the first time that Pakistani nationals will be allowed the facility of visa on arrival at the Attari-Wagah land border joint check post, 30 km from Punjab`s state capital Amritsar.
However, the facility will only be for senior citizens aged 65 and above.
They will be allowed to cross the border gates on foot, and can stay in India for 45 days during one visit. Two visits are proposed to be allowed for each person under the new rules.
India and Pakistan had signed a visa agreement in September last year under which rules to issue visas to nationals of both countries were eased a little.
It was under this agreement that both sides agreed to allow visa on arrival for senior citizens at the Attari-Wagah border.
However, those who are issued the visa on arrival will be allowed to go only to those places or states which are mentioned in the visa. They will not be allowed to stay in Punjab and can only transit from the state. Such people will also not be allowed to enter Jammu and Kashmir and some other states.
Those availing the visa on arrival will have to go back the same way (on foot) and cannot change the mode of travel.
People from both countries can travel by bus, train, air or through the sea route. A restricted number of people are allowed to cross the border on foot through the land route.
On an average, nearly 100 people cross the land border at Attari-Wagah on foot. Others travel by the Delhi-Lahore bus service or the Samjhauta Express peace train between both countries.
With IANS Inputs