ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has approved a liberalized visa agreement with India that will relax curbs on issuing travel documents to traders, elderly people, tourists, pilgrims, members of the civil society and children, Xinhua reported.
The two countries had signed the agreement in September during the then foreign minister S M Krishna's visit to Islamabad.
Pakistan information minister Qamar uz Zaman Kaira told a news conference on Wednesday that at a cabinet meeting presided by Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, the members unanimously accorded approval to the relaxed visa agreement with India which he hoped will promote people-to-people contacts.
A 38-year-old visa pact has been replaced with the new pact, which says that visa has to be issued in a period of not exceeding 45 days of application.
Under the new system, one can visit five places instead of three at present and those above 65 and children below 12 years of age and eminent businessmen are exempted from police reporting.
Under the category of " Visitor visa", in the new pact, single entry visa is to be issued for six months. But the stay should not exceed three months at a time. Earlier, only single entry visa for three months used to be issued for meeting relatives, friends, business or other legitimate purpose.
Under the new Category II, a "Visitor visa" for a maximum five specified places may be issued for a longer period, up to two years with multiple entries to senior citizens (above 65 years old), spouses of a national of one country married to a person of another country and children below 12 years of age accompanying parents as given earlier.
The new "Group Tourist visa" will be issued for no less than 10 people and no more than 50 people. Valid up to 30 days, this visa will have to be applied through tour operators registered by the two governments.
The Pakistan cabinet also approved three agreements regarding customs and certification issues, which were also signed by officials of the commerce ministries of both countries in September.
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The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw