As the India-Pakistan limited-over cricket series nears, New Delhi has decided to issue just 3,000 visas to Pakistani fans.
Sources in the Home Ministry said there was no indication so far from Pakistan of any VVIP coming to watch the matches: three One-Day Internationals in New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata and two Twenty20 matches in Bangalore and Ahmedabad.
Pakistan, whose team would tour India from December 25 to January 6, 2013, was told that only 3,000 fans would be allowed to witness the matches, provided they produced match tickets, travelling documents and hotel reservation slips at the time of applying for visas, the sources said.
Interestingly, India has decided, for the first time, to issue multi-city visas, so that the fans can enjoy more than one match.
“It has been decided to take extra precaution while issuing visas, and all due diligence… will be done. It will be ensured that no Pakistani visitor goes missing as it happened in the past… 12 Pakistanis who came to India to watch the last India-Pakistan cricket series in 2007 failed to return [home], and are yet to be traced,” a senior official of the Ministry said.
Pakistanis would not be allowed to cross the border at Wagah on foot; they could come only by bus, train or air, the sources said. Of the 3,000 visas, 1,000 would given be for the Delhi One-Day match, while 500 each would be issued for the Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Kolkata matches.