Karachi, May 6 : Hundreds of relatives of those arrested in India on charges of fake visas or overstaying their visas, organized a strong protest in front of the Karachi Press Club, alleging that Indian authorities had arrested more than 200 Pakistani visitors on charges of fake visas, even though they were holding valid visas.
The agitated protesters demanded of the Indian and Pakistani governments to take immediate notice of the arrests and work towards release of the Pakistani prisoners.
The protesters said that Pakistanis attached much significance to visiting India, and consider it as a "sacred trip".
"Our parents consider a visit to India a 'sacred trip' because they have memories of their childhood associated with it. Is it a crime to meet ones' parents?" the Daily Times quoted one Yousuf Raza as saying.
Daud Mandra, one of the protesters, said that Indian authorities had arrested some of his family members despite the fact that they were holding valid visas for two months. "My younger brother, Sultan, his wife and two-year-old daughter decided to take the trip two years ago. The visa process did not give them a chance to fulfill my mother's desire. The Indian authorities asked them to leave India because their visa was for one month only. They left Pakistan on March 22 for the Indian district Kutch-Buj as most of their relatives live there. My mother is still in village Waradi, but my brother who was coming back along with his wife and daughter was arrested at Attari," said Daud.
He added: "It was shocking for me to find out that around six elderly women were never contacted by their Pakistani counterparts. How can old women get fake visas, and even if they did, why were they allowed to cross the borders legally? This is injustice to Pakistanis. Most of the people from Kutch lack proper orientation for visiting any country."
According to the paper, most of the victims belong to the Kutchi community, mostly settled in Lyari, Machhar Colony, Khokhrapar, Kumbhar Wara and Keamari. Mandra, Hingora, Sanghar, Noutiar, Pirzada and Kumbhar. Their next of kin participated in the protest demonstration, carrying banners and placards, demanding that the Pakistani and Indian authorities should take immediate steps to investigate the matter so that the fear can be minimized for other visitors too.