M A I N   N E W S

Amarinder to take up visa relaxation issue with PM
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, February 1
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who returned after a two-day visit to Pakistan today, said he would take up the case of relaxing visa restrictions and other bilateral issues with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Most Pakistanis could not visit this area as Punjab was still a ‘disturbed area’, he said.

The Chief Minister said during his visit to Pakistan he had found that both Punjabs could witness unprecedented prosperity if the land route was opened. The residents of both countries could be benefited with the strengthening of economic and social ties.

In a significant development, the Chief Ministers of both Punjabs, Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Parvez Elahi, had agreed in principal to exchange artisans to preserve Multani Mosque, Shahjehan’s Diwan-e-Khas, Qila Mubarak and other heritage sites. Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, said being the president of INTACH (Punjab chapter), Capt Amarinder Singh had assured his Pakistani counterpart to help in preserving heritage buildings in Pakistan. The Chief Minister was given security which was given only to a head of state.

He said he had invited the Chief Minister, the Governor, the Speaker and legislators from Punjab in Pakistan. He failed to take up the case of proper upkeep of Sikh shrines with Mr Elahi, as announced before going to Pakistan. He said the condition of Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Dera Sahib and the ‘samadhi’ of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore were in good condition.

Capt Amarinder Singh claimed that his visit to Pakistan would help both countries to further their cordial relations and both Punjabs had come closer. He said the ‘maulvi’ at the ‘mazaar’ of Sain Mian Mir, who had laid the foundation stone of Golden Temple, had prayed for the strengthening of relations between India and Pakistan. Capt Amarinder Singh said during his visit to Pakistan, he had noticed that there was realisation on both sides that peace and development had to go hand in hand.” Peace gives an impetus to development while development strengthens, peace,” he said.

To a question about the relaxation of visa restrictions, as demanded by the President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mian Anjum Nisar, the Chief Minister said he would take up this matter with the Ministry of External Affairs to provide adequate staff at the office of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to clear the ever-mounting workload of visa cases. He pointed out that with the available strength, they could only manage to clear 100 cases per day whereas they were getting about 600 cases every day.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |