Any Pakistani cricket lover who wants to visit India to watch the upcoming India-Pakistan matches will have to have an Indian sponsor to get a visa, as 12 Pakistani spectators had gone missing after the 2007 bilateral series.

The Home Ministry has made it mandatory for each Pakistani cricket fan intending to witness the forthcoming cricket series beginning on December 25 to have a local sponsor to get visa.

The decision has come as 12 Pakistani men, who came to India to watch the last India-Pakistan bilateral cricket series held in November-December 2007, did not return home and are yet to be traced.

“There will be no relaxation of visa rules for the cricket fans. We cannot compromise our security as it is our prime concern. So, whoever seeks visa, has to name a local sponsor,” a Home Ministry official said.

There will be no cap on the number of visas to be issued for the Pakistani cricket lovers and whoever fulfils the prescribed criteria and becomes eligible to get visa will get it.

The visa applicants will also have to attach a copy of the ticket purchased to watch the series that would comprise three ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals between December 25, this year and January 6, next year.

The ODI matches will be played in Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi and the Twenty20 games in Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

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