New Delhi has granted visa to Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit to visit Kolkata for the upcoming World T20 encounter between India and Pakistan on Saturday (March 19).
“We are looking forward to a great match tomorrow,” India’s newswire service ANI quoted Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit as saying.
Basit, however, regretted that some of his other colleagues who wanted to watch the thriller between the two arch-rivals had been denied permission by the Indian government.
The development comes days after Indian authorities denied seven Pakistani diplomats permission to visit Kolkata for the World T20 encounter citing security reasons.
New Delhi’s external affairs ministry had denied permission to the diplomats in question for alleged links with Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the ISI.
“It is unfortunate that India, despite being the host of the World Cup, is refusing to fulfil its obligations and creating hurdles,” an official at the Pakistan High Commission in the Indian capital had said.
Previously, Indian authorities also placed a limit of 250 visas on Pakistani spectators for each match Pakistan team plays in the World T20 tournament.
According to Indian Home Ministry, the five-day visa would only be issued after provision of proof regarding match tickets, return tickets and accommodation bookings from fans.
Earlier, after a row over security, Saturday’s match was switched from Dharamsala to Kolkata, the capital of India before the sub-continent’s 1947 partition that led to Pakistan’s creation.
The match is expected to be watched by hundreds of millions of television viewers, including in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir where many residents will be rooting for Pakistan.