Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shahryar Khan was detained by immigration officials at the Kolkata airport on Saturday. Khan flew in from Dhaka, which led to a hitch because of travel rules for Pakistan nationals.
“Pakistan nationals can clear immigrations only at the Delhi, Amritsar and Mumbai airports. In case they want to enter India through any other airport they need prior permission from the home ministry. Khan did not have the permission,” said an immigration official who did not want to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
He was later given a temporary landing permit and moved to a hotel reportedly on intervention of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley with whom Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya is learnt to have spoken.
India and Pakistan have strict visa rules that permit citizens of both countries to travel only to the port of entry mentioned in their visas. Any violation of norms can result in visitors being turned back.
Efforts to liberalise the visa regime for selected categories of travellers such as religious pilgrims and groups of tourists have not made much headway because of frosty bilateral relations in recent years.
Khan had reached Kolkata on a Jet Airways flight from Dhaka around 5.30pm and was stopped at the immigration counter. Immigration officials said they could not send him back to Dhaka as there were no flights till Sunday afternoon.
Khan is set to meet Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya on Sunday.
During the immigration muddle for Khan, Dalmiya told HT, “I am not aware of the exact technicality over which Shahryar Khan is stranded. However, they (PCB and the government) are working out an alternate path to sort the issue out. Hopefully our meeting will go ahead as scheduled or at an alternate date.”
Earlier, the PCB chief had made it clear his visit to Kolkata would be to restore cricketing ties between India and Pakistan at a neutral venue in December.
(With inputs from Mumbai and Delhi)