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India to ease visa rules for Pakistanis

Reuters

Posted: Mar 22, 2005 at 1102 hrs IST

Very young and elderly Pakistanis visiting India will receive visas on arrival from April 1, the foreign ministry in New Delhi said on Monday.

It said in a statement that visas will be given for up to 30 days to Pakistanis arriving at the Attari railway border point in Punjab.

"The facility for granting visa on arrival at the Attari checkpoint to Pakistani nationals who are over 65 years or below 12 years of age will commence on April 1, 2005," it said.

Pakistani citizens flying into India will not be given visas on arrival.

Travel, diplomatic, sporting, commercial and transport links have been strengthened between India and Pakistan as part of a 16-month-old peace process.

On April 7, India and Pakistan will kick off a bus link between the capitals of the two parts of Kashmir under their respective control, allowing Kashmiris to cross a militarised frontier that divides the region and meet family members.

The two countries have fought two of their three wars over the disputed Himalayan territory since independence from Britain in 1947.

India also liberalised its visa regime for Pakistani cricket fans eager to see their team play test matches and one-day matches. Thousands of Pakistani fans received a warm welcome when they attended the first Test match in Mohali in Punjab state earlier this month.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is expected to witness a one-day match in New Delhi on April 17.

New Delhi announced in September it would ease visa rules for Pakistanis, including journalists, academics and doctors.

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