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ISLAMABAD: India put on hold yesterday the proposed group tourist visa facility for Pakistanis apparently because of the growing unease in ties following Wednesday’s suicide attack in Srinagar, Press Trust of India said.
“We are not going to operationalise the facility to be offered to Pakistanis from Friday,” a Home Ministry official said.
PTI cited the killing of two Indian soldiers along the Line of Control in January as another possible reason for the decision though no official reason has been given for the latest move.
Both countries had agreed to operationalise the facility for each other’s citizens from March 15.
India has put on hold visa on arrival facility for senior citizens — part of the new relaxed visa agreement — hours before its operationalisation on January 15 following heightened tension along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
Amid strong attack from political parties over the latest terror strike in Kashmir, India hinted at a Pakistani link but refrained from saying that the militants belonged to it. Making identical statements in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said some items bearing markings of Pakistan had been recovered from the terrorists who were killed in the ensuing encounter shoutout with a CRPF camp.
He made the statement after criticism by members from various parties, who said the government had repeatedly failed in preventing terror incidents and dealing with Pakistan from where, they said, these originated.