Pakistani visitors seek easier norms of clearance to visit India

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Poonch (Jammu-Kashmir), April 20 (ANI): Visitors from Pakistan have sought for simplification of procedures to enable them to visiting here.

A group of 32 Pakistan visitors that recently arrived in India returned to their homeland on Monday by weekly bus service via Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point of the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Before leaving, they said that there were long delays in processing the applications, which spoils the charm. They said that such long delays hurt, as it prevents them from meeting their relatives and friends when it matters the most.

"It took me at least three years since I submitted my papers. Paper clearance process should be made faster so that maximum number of people can meet their loved ones. I believe there is lot of love and passion in this country and I am taking these feelings along with me to Pakistan. And I shall tell everyone there that Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and everyone live in peace and sympathy here," said Mohammad Basheer, a resident of Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Visitors also said that some of the people have even died while waiting for their papers to be cleared, in the hope of meeting their relatives and family members.

"Many people who had submitted their papers did not get a chance to come here as they died before they could meet their loved ones," said Mohammad Shareef, another resident of Pakistan occupied Kashmir

Police officials in Poonch district said that there has been substantial decrease in the number of visitors, as clearance for Indian visitors does not come in time from the other side.

"The number in the beginning used to be 100 or 50 per day. But the number has decreased drastically and the main reason behind this is that papers are not getting cleared. People in India who want to go to Pakistan,are not getting clearance from their side," said Rafiq Chowdary, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Poonch

A bus service connecting Srinagar and Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and another similar link between Poonch and Rawalakot are in operation to facilitate people-to-people contact across Kashmir.

Some Pakistani visitors feel that the prevailing tension between the nations may be one of the factors for delay in clearance of papers.

India broke off a four-year-long sluggish peace initiative with Pakistan after the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks, saying dialogue could resume only if Islamabad acted against militants on its soil.

The incident involved killing of 166 people by Pakistan-based militants.

Indian intelligence officials also contend that Pakistan-based militant groups have stepped up efforts to infiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC) after snow started melting on the high Himalayan mountain passes, raising fears of fresh violence. By Tarak (ANI)

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