Journalists, civil society members hail implementation of new Pak-India visa regime

Journalists from the Indo-Pak region and members of the civil society are hailing the new Pak-India agreement on visa regime, terming the implementation of relaxed visa policy in both countries as a good development.
According to Radio Pakistan, analysts and members of the civil society showed hope that this policy would help maintain cordial relations between both the neighbouring countries in the future.
Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) head Ahmad Bilal Mehbood said that implementation of the new visa regime would have a positive impact on bilateral relations between the two countries, adding that people to people contact, trade ties and tourism could be promoted between the two neighbouring countries. He further said that such steps would also reduce tensions and would increase mutual trust between Pakistan and India.
Former ambassador of Pakistan B A Malik termed the implementation of the new visa regime as a great achievement of the governments of Pakistan and India.
Talking to Radio Pakistan he said it was a good development as it would make travelling easy for the people living on both sides of the border.
He further said that both countries should make advancement towards normalization of ties. He hoped that with the passage of time, visa restrictions in both countries would end, and like the European Union countries, people from either side would be able to travel easily across the border.
Replying to a question, Malik said that the Kashmir issue would also be resolved if both countries were to continue walking on the road of friendship.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Pilwasha Behram said that implementation of the new visa regime would enhance trust level between the two countries, adding that both sides wanted people to people contact for the promotion of peace and trade.
Professor of Political Science in New Delhi University Navita Chitta Behra said that Indo-Pak relations would improve and people of both countries would be benefited by an increase in mass level contact as a result of the new visa policy.
Talking to Radio Pakistan via phone from New Delhi, she said there were some elements with vested interests who did not want good relations between both the neighboring countries.
She said these elements could be checked by applying public pressure in both countries and by ensuring that a democratic system continued to prevail on both sides of the border.
Senior Indian journalist Venod Kumar Sharma had welcomed the move of making the new Pak-India visa regime operational.
Talking to Radio Pakistan, he said that families divided by the border in both the countries had taken a sigh of relief after the new visa regime was introduced.
It is worth mentioning here that the new visa regime was signed by both countries in September this year, however, an announcement regarding its implementation had been made during the recent meeting of interior ministers of both countries’ in New Delhi.
According to the new visa policy, senior citizens of both countries who were beyond 65 years of age and children less than 12 years of age would be issued two years multiple visa.
Other citizens from both the countries who wanted to visit either Pakistan or India would be provided visa of five cities in each country.

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