On talk table: Visa for Pak seniors on arrival at Attari border | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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On talk table: Visa for Pak seniors on arrival at Attari border

chandigarh Updated: Apr 11, 2012 11:33 IST
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In a first, India has agreed to a visa-on-arrival facility for senior citizens arriving at the Attari border from Pakistan as part of a liberalised visa regime that will push trade links and reunite families divided by a fenced border and a restrictive visa policy.

The new visa agreement would kick in after home secretary RK Singh and Interior Secretary K Siddique Akbar sign on the dotted line at their next meeting expected in end-May or early June.

The two sides have agreed to seal the agreement at this meeting rather than reopen negotiations as demanded by the business community in Pakistan who felt the changes were too little, too late.

The proposed pact not only relaxes rules for businessmen with a proven record to a one-year multiple entry visa to travel in 10 cities but could also brings hope for people such as Rizwana Suriya, who migrated from Pune after her marriage to a Pakistani national.

Suriya had written an emotional open letter to President Asif Ali Zardari ahead of his visit, published in a Pakistani newspaper last week, recounting how she had been unable to visit Pune - due to the restrictive visa policies - to meet her parents before they died.

Along with people such as Suriya, senior citizens and minors - less than 12 years -can be granted multiple entry visas with a two-year validity.

Senior citizens will also be eligible for a 45-day visa on arrival at the Attari/Wagah border.
The liberalised regime has been in the works for over four years and was due to be finalised around the 26/11 attacks, which left a deep scar on relations between the two countries.

India may give updated dossier

India is expected to present an updated dossier on 26/11 prime accused and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief patron Hafiz Muhammed Saeed to Pakistan during the forthcoming home secretary-level talks.

The dossier is based on the interrogation report of his accomplice David Coleman Headley and relevant US court documents.

After Saeed was discussed in the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, New Delhi has asked for the dates for the home secretary talks after the Parliament session on May 22.