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Pak chief justice calls off India visit over visa row

Last year, officials had made former PM IK Gujral wait for a couple of hours while he was returning from Pakistan.
None | By Indo-Asian News Service, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 30, 2006 05:28 PM IST

The Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court has called off a personal visit to India after his family members were refused entry as they did not possess valid visas for visiting the Sikh holy city of Amritsar.

Rana Bhagwandas, the first Hindu to reach the highest judicial post in Pakistan, turned back from the Wagah border check post on Wednesday after Indian immigration officials refused entry to some of his relatives.

The judge and his family had travelled to India on the recently launched Lahore-Amritsar bus and had planned to board a train to Lucknow from Amritsar Wednesday.

The main objection of the Indian authorities was that his relatives had visas to visit Lucknow and could travel there only via Delhi, and not by the land route via Wagah.

As the issue was not resolved, Bhagwandas got down from the bus at the Wagah border and decided not to proceed further.

Indian judicial and district administration officials, who rushed to Wagah, could not get the issue resolved even as Bhagwandas could himself be seen arguing with immigration officials.

This is not the first time that officials at Wagah have been in the news for the wrong reasons.

Last year, they had made former prime minister IK Gujral wait for a couple of hours to clear immigration formalities while he was returning from Pakistan.

In February, hundreds of Indian cricket fans had to wait for several hours at the Wagah border and were harassed as they headed to Lahore for an India-Pakistan ODI match being played there.

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