India, Pak to ease visa restrictions for free travel

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Karachi, Aug 29: India and Pakistan must change their respective visa policies to facilitate people of both sides to visit each other's country without any hassles, urged Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Secretary-General, I.A Rehman and Pak-India People's Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) Pakistan Secretary-General, Anis Haroon. They said that people must be allowed to freely visit each other's country for ensuring a smooth peace process.

"We recommend dialogue between India and Pakistan to promote the peace process in the region but because of the Kashmir issue, these dialogues have been put on ice. For the peace process to take place at the people's level, both countries must allow the citizens of the other country to visit freely, for which we recommend that visa requirements be lifted, if not then the visa process must be easy, so that people are encouraged to visit each other," the Daily Times quoted Rehman as saying.

Addressing a joint press conference at the HRCP office in Karachi, Rehman demanded that both governments issue visas to citizens so they can attend the Lahore convention planned in November by the PIPFPD.

"The PIPFPD has planned the same convention in Lahore in November 2007 but it was postponed as former president Pervez Musharraf imposed an emergency in the country and again in May 2008 in Peshawar but the current Pakistani government informed us that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had not issued clearances so these visas were not issued to the Indian delegates. We have now set it for November and demand that the Pakistan government to issue visas to the Indian delegates," said Haroon.

She said that such a convention at the people's level will help both countries to come closer and to restore peace dialogues started in 2003 and while several confidence building measures (CBM) are on the cards, neither government is enforcing them.

She said that peace in South Asia is not possible until India and Pakistan resolved their conflicts and that it was only possible when there was dialogue, a three-sided dialogue between Kashmiris, Pakistanis and Indians.


ANI

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