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Visa-on-arrival facility for Pak senior citizens begins

After dithering over the decision for over two months, India has finally started ‘visa-on-arrival’ facility for Pakistani senior citizens on reciprocal basis.

Senior Pakistani citizens of more than 65 years of age will now get ‘visa-on-arrival’ (VoA) at Attari/Wagah check-post for 45 days. It will be a single entry visa.

The facility was scheduled to be started from January 15. But, it was put on hold in the wake of mounting tension along the border after the January 8 killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani Army.

Though Indian officials had then said that the operationalisation of the VoA was just got delayed as several security agencies sought clarifications on facilities to be offered to the Pakistani citizens without Indian sponsors, it later appeared to be just a pretext of putting it on hold due to tensions along the LoC.

Both the countries had decided to issue a single entry VoA to each other’s senior citizens under a new liberalised visa agreement in September last year.

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, however, operationalised after Indian home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik had formally launched the new visa regime on 14 December, 2013.

Both the countries had then decided to launch the VoA facility from 15 January.
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