Tighter visa norms for Pak-origin citizens now


This step comes in the backdrop of reports on an increasing number of people of Pak-origin being drawn towards terror outfits. The government is thinking about making it mandatory for visa applications of Pakistan-born citizens of any country to be cleared in New Delhi, fixing the number of visits in a year and insisting on reference letters from past travellers.

“The government is particularly concerned over the recent reports of five young Americans –– two of them Pakistani-origin –– arrested in Pakistan for links with al-Qaeda”, sources in the home ministry said. The government is also thinking about resorting to similar action on citizens having roots in countries like China, Afghanistan, Egypt and Iran who hold passports of other countries.

Worried over the increasing number of Pakistani-origin citizens living in the West getting attracted to terrorism, the Centre is planning to tighten visa approval norms for such persons to visit India.

“The government is particularly concerned over the recent reports of five young Americans –– two of them Pakistani-origin –– arrested in Pakistan for links with al-Qaeda”, sources in the home ministry said.

The government is contemplating making it mandatory for visa applications of Pakistan-born citizens of any country to be cleared in New Delhi, fixing the number of visits in a year and insisting on reference letters from past travellers.
The government is also thinking about resorting to similar action on citizens having roots in countries like China, Afghanistan, Egypt and Iran, who hold passports of other countries.

Among the five American youths arrested in Pakistan recently on plotting terror attack, one is of Egyptian-origin, one is of Ethiopian origin and another is of Eritrean origin.
The arrests came in the wake of the busting of a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) plot, in which the Pakistan-based terror group was planning to use David Coleman Headley, whose father was a Pakistani national, to launch terror attacks in India.

Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana, an aide of Headley, was also arrested for his links with terror groups. “These are disturbing reports as India is always a prime target of terrorists. We have to think ways which can effectively deal with such a sensitive issue,” the sources said.

The government’s concern was amply reflected when Home Secretary G K Pillai said recently that the time has come to “think the unthinkable” as terrorists were working on new strategies to break the country’s security.

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