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Zardari confirms Pakistan’s ratification of Visa Agreement between Pakistan, India

Islamabad, November 20, 2012 (PPI-OT): President Asif Ali Zardari today has confirmed Pakistan’s ratification of Visa Agreement between Pakistan and India, signed between the two countries on 8th September 2012 during the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister to Pakistan.

The Cabinet of Pakistan had accorded its approval to sign this agreement during its meeting held on 5 September 2012 and approved the ratification of the Subject Protocol on 31 October 2012.

Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the objective of Visa Agreement between the two countries was to facilitate the travellers of the two countries to visit each other.

Spokesperson said that under this Agreement, besides diplomatic, non-diplomatic and official visas, a visitor visa will be issued to person visiting the other country to meet relatives or friends or for any other legitimate purpose. This visa will be valid for a maximum of five specified places and shall be for a period not exceeding six months. The visa shall also specify that the duration of stay of the visitor at a time shall not exceed three months.

The Agreement says that a Visitor Visa for a maximum of five specified places may be issued for a longer period of upto two years with multiple entries to senior citizens (those above 65 years of age); national of one country, married to a national of the other country; and children below 12 years of age accompanying parent(s).

According to the Agreement transit visa valid for upto two entries in the city/port of entry for 36 hours in each case will be issued to persons travelling by air or sea and proceeding to another country through Pakistan/India. Such transit visa will need to be obtained before undertaking the travel. No visa will be required for a passenger directly transiting through an airport/seaport, but his/her stay shall be confined to the area in the airport/seaport set apart for international transit passengers.

The Visa Agreement also says that Group Tourist visa may be issued to individual applicants for travel in group, with not less than 10 members and not more than 50 members in each group, organized by approved tour operators/travel agents. Such visa will be valid for upto 30 days and will be non-extendable.

The Group Tourist visa facility will also be available to students of educational institutions of both countries. However, this will be a tourist visa only and not for seeking admission in educational institutions of either country. Such tours should be organized by known and reputed academic institutions with sponsorship from a similar institution, purely for non-religious purpose and prior clearance for the tour should be taken by the approved tour operator from the host country.

On Business visa, the Agreement says that this visa will be issued to bonafide businessmen in the following categories, who intend to travel for business purpose between India and Pakistan;

1. Businessmen with an income of Pak Rs. half a million or equivalent per annum or turnover/gross sale of PKR three million or equivalent will be given one year business visa, with five place for upto four entries.

2. Businessmen with an income of at least PKR five million or equivalent per annum or turnover of PKR thirty million or equivalent per annum will be given one year multiple entry business visas for upto ten places, with exemption from Police Reporting.

The visa shall specify that the period of stay of the businessman at a time shall not exceed 30 days. The maximum time taken in processing of a business visa will not exceed more than five weeks.

The Pilgrim visas will be issued to Pilgrims intending to visit religious shrines as per the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrine, or any future revision to the Protocol. Such visas will need to be applied at least 45 days before the commencement of the intended tour. These visas will be issued for a single entry, restricted to 15 days validity and would be non-extendable.

The Agreement says that people of more than 65 years of age will be granted single entry visa on arrival at the Attari/Wagha Check post for 45 days. This visa will be non-extendable and non-convertible.

The Spokesperson said that the validity of visa clause of the Agreement says the applicant must avail the visa within a period of 90 days from the date of issue. If there are grounds requiring extension of validity, the concerned Mission will take a decision on such requests on priority. This provision will not be applicable to the holders of Business Visa.

Spokesperson further said that Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a Summary had requested the Prime Minister to forward the Instrument of Ratification for his approval and affixation of President’s green seal. Accordingly, acting upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the President today confirmed the ratification of this Agreement by affixing his seal.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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