India relaxes visa norms for Pakistanis

19:23, June 11, 2010      

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India has relaxed long-term visa norms for some Pakistani nationals staying in this country, said official sources on Friday.

According to an official release, the Ministry of Home Affairs has relaxed visa norms in four categories -- members of minority communities like Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan; Pakistani women married to Indian nationals and staying in India; Indian women married to Pakistani nationals and returning due to widowhood or divorce and having no male member to support them in Pakistan; and cases involving extreme compassion.

The ministry has asked the State governments and Union Territories to consider cases for extension of long-term visa of these categories without insisting on validity of passports, as such Pakistani nationals have come to India permanently with the intention to attain Indian citizenship.

However, only such Pakistani nationals are eligible to be considered for grant or extension of long-term visas who had come to India on or before Dec. 31, 2009, said the official release issued on Thursday.

In addition to four categories, the grant of long-term visas is also being considered in the case of male Muslim community members being originally Indian citizens who went to Pakistan after the 1947 Partition leaving behind family in India, and who returned to India on a valid passport issued by the government of Pakistan and settled in the southern state of Kerala so that they could acquire Indian citizenship.

"The Ministry of Home Affairs has been receiving a large number of references from such Pakistani nationals staying in various states where their passports had expired and they were not able to renew the same. In the absence of valid passport or visa, they are not considered for Indian citizenship," the statement said.

Source: Xinhua


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