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Pak may relax visa policy for Indian tourists

Pakistan is mulling steps to relax visa policy for Indian tourists by increasing their duration of stay in the country from five to 15 days.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2007 16:07 IST

Pakistan is mulling steps to relax visa policy for Indian tourists by increasing their duration of stay in the country from five to 15 days.

"The extended time for Indian tourists would provide them an opportunity to visit other scenic spots in the country besides the places where they want to go," Pakistan's Minister for Tourism Nilofer Bakhtiar said.

Besides a tourist section would also be introduced in the passports for the purpose, she said while addressing a function in Peshawar on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri on Thursday said Pakistan was ready to sign an agreement on liberalisation of visa regime to coincide with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's visit.

Indian officials, however, said that Pakistan has forwarded its proposals on visa liberalisation in response to the draft submitted by India only a week ahead of Mukherjee's visit.

In view of lack of preparatory work, an agreement on liberalisation of visa regime was expected to be reached at a later date.

India and Pakistan currently have no provision for tourist visa.

Under the previous agreement, the two sides issue visas point to point with specific time frame to visa seekers who furnishes verifiable address of their relatives.

The two countries are keen to introduce group of tourism visas to facilitate tour operators on both sides to organise conducted tours.

Bhaktiar said in order to attract foreign tourists and promote tourism in the country, the Pakistan government has started open visa policies for several countries.