M A I N   N E W S

Pak may set up visa camp in Amritsar
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 4
The Tribune understands that India is likely to allow Pakistan to set up a special visa camp in Amritsar from March 17 to 20 to facilitate cricket lovers from the region to travel to Pakistan for watching the forthcoming Indo-Pak series.

Pakistan had requested the Government of India to set up a visa camp in Amritsar to facilitate issuance of visas for the cricket lovers of the region.

The Government of India has examined the matter and it is expected that there will be a positive response soon to the Pakistani request.

The positive response of the Government of India is likely to be formally announced within this week.

Meanwhile, signals from Pakistan on the Indian request for allowing Indian Airlines, Indian Railways and DTC to operate cricket special flights, trains and buses appear to be positive, though the Pakistani response is still awaited.

Sources in the Pakistan High Commission here told The Tribune today: “We will do everything possible to make sure that as many Indians travel to Pakistan as possible to watch the cricket matches.”

The Government of India yesterday conveyed to Pakistan, both here and in Islamabad, that additional transport modes, especially trains, were needed to cope with the expected cricket lovers’ rush.

The Government of India does not buy the Pakistani argument of long-drawn immigration and customs checks at both sides of the border for a train which carries 700 persons. New Delhi’s counter-argument is that a flight which carries 350 persons gets custom/immigration clearance within half an hour because there are some 20 officers to handle the job.

Pakistan’s High Commission here, meanwhile, today started receiving applications for cricket visas at a special counter, though not a single visa could be issued today.

Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Munnawar Sayeed Bhatti told The Tribune that some 40-45 cricket visa applications were received today and it would take a few days to issue the visas.

“There is still a lot of time left as most of the visa applications received today were for Lahore (which hosts two one-day internationals on March 21 and 24). We are determined to cope with the situation,” Mr Bhatti said.

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