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'Pakistan delaying on India visa accord'

Pakistan delaying on India visa accord

Islamabad: Pakistan is yet to implement a visa agreement it signed with India last month, though New Delhi has already begun enforcing the new policy, a senate penal heard.

The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs was told Friday that the delay was caused by the interior ministry, which was yet to present it before the cabinet for ratification, the Dawn reported.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said the delay was "procedural in nature".

Unsatisfied with the explanation, committee chairman Haji Adeel censured the ministry for moving slowly on the matter.

"This is sheer negligence on the part of the ministry and those responsible should be held accountable," Adeel said.

The delay ran contrary to the desire for improvement in bilateral ties, the daily quoted him as saying.

The agreement was signed Sep 8 during Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's visit to Pakistan.

The liberalised visa agrement allows for issuance of visas to the elderly and children on arrival and multiple-entry visas to businessmen.

The signing of the accord was seen as the first step towards easing travel restrictions between the two countries since 1974, when the old visa regime came into force.

The overhauled visa regime became effective in India this week, while some of the easier steps requiring less official procedures were made effective soon after the signing.


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