NEW DEHLI: Travelling across the border to India may finally become easier with a new bilateral visa agreement likely to be signed soon between India and Pakistan.
The preparatory work for the visa agreement was done over a two-day meeting of the two countries’ additional secretaries in New Delhi on October 13 and 14.
The decision to ease visa restrictions was taken at a meeting of the Joint Working Group in Islamabad in early June this year.
The Pakistani delegation was led by interior ministry’s additional secretary Nasir Hayat, while the Indian delegation was led by Anil Goswami, Additional Secretary (Foreigners) in the home affairs ministry. “The two sides finalised the draft text of the agreement, which will be submitted to the respective governments for obtaining necessary approvals in order to sign the agreement at an early date,” said the ministry.
The draft agreement envisages, among other things, multiple-entry visas for traders and businessmen of the two countries, an Indian news agency reported.
Easing travelling restrictions has been a long-standing demand of people from the neighbouring countries. Presently, both Indians and Pakistanis can only visit a limited number of cities in either country and the visa process is a tedious one.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2011.