After ceasefire violations, India, Pakistan now spar over visas

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 18, 2015 07:37 IST

Ties between India and Pakistan continued to sour in light of the recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) with both sides accusing each other of not issuing visas to officials and diplomats appointed for posting in their respective high commissions.

Calling India “uncooperative”, Pakistani sources said New Delhi was yet to issue visas to 16 of its officials. Countering the claim, India said Pakistan had sought visas for only five officials which were being processed. They further accused Islamabad of delaying visas to 12 Indian officials, including a naval attaché.

In another blow to the apparent thaw in ties achieved last week during talks between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Army on Friday lodged a complaint against alleged ceasefire violations by India with a UN military observer group.

“India is lately behaving in the most uncooperative way. Visa to 16 of our officials, including the air and naval attaché are stuck with the Indian side for months,” Pakistani sources said. “India continues to link all other administrative aspects to the visa issue which is indeed regrettable,” the sources added.

Pakistani officials also accused Indian authorities of denying travel permits to families of diplomats stationed in places like Ajmer, Jaipur and Agra. “Permission to our kids for school trips are also denied,” Pakistani sources said.

Dismissing the claims, Indian officials said: “We are processing visas for five Pakistan officials. There is an inordinate delay in Pakistan granting visa to 12 Indian officials.” They pointed to Pakistan’s refusal to grant visa to an Indian yoga instructor on International Yoga Day.

The row over visas comes amid heightened tension along the border with Pakistan resorting to mortar shelling of Indian areas over the past two days. Pakistan recently claimed to have downed a “spy drone” belonging to Indian security forces. India rubbished the allegations, saying the drone appeared to be of Chinese design and is commercially available off the shelf.

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