Liberal Indian visa a good thing, says daily

Liberal Indian visa a good thing, says daily

A liberal visa policy is a welcome step for Pakistanis wanting to visit India as "the current process is incredibly Byzantine", a leading Pakistani daily said Saturday.

An editorial in the Dawn said all those who "desire peace in the subcontinent, especially divided families," will welcome the comments by Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma in Islamabad Thursday. 

Sharma said that a liberal visa policy between Pakistan and India was in its final stages and the modalities were being worked out. 

He added that the new policy would be for all people, though businessmen would get "special consideration". 

The editorial said that it would be a relief for many visitors from Pakistan to know that the requirement of reporting to the police when entering and exiting cities would be scrapped, as would the limit on the number of cities they could visit. 

"At the moment, for Pakistanis wanting to visit India, the current process is incredibly Byzantine. Hence a reset of this excessively bureaucratic approach can only be a good thing," it added.

The Indian minister said India expected "a reciprocal gesture from Pakistan".

"Doubtless, visa liberalization is a two-way affair and the Pakistani government should take matching steps. 

"Perhaps the biggest confidence-booster in this regard for the two sides would be to reopen long-closed consulates in Mumbai and Karachi. 

"If this is not immediately possible, visa processing centres should be made operative in both metropolises to facilitate the public.

"Also, a new visa policy should benefit the masses, not just businessmen and the elite," the daily added.