There has been a sharp decline in the number of Pakistanis visiting India in the past three years, according to the annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
From 1,04,720 in 2016, the number fell down to 57,283 in the whole of 2018 and the first three months of 2019. In 2017, it was 67,350, the report said.
A senior government official said that in August 2016, the MHA put in place an electronic visa clearance process for Pakistani citizens. For countries under the restricted category, like Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, any visa application has to be cleared by the MHA after receiving inputs from the security agencies within 60 days.
The maximum number of foreign visitors in 15 months starting 1 January 2018 to 31 March, 2019 were from Bangladesh. Of the 1.37 crore foreigners who came to India in the same period, around 28.76 lakh were from Bangladesh, followed by 18.63 lakh from the U.S. and 13.69 lakh from the United Kingdom, the report said.
Out of the 1,982 foreigners deported by the authorities of the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), the maximum belonged to Nigeria (847), followed by Bangladesh (491) and Somalia (124), the report said. In 2017, of the 1,303 foreigners deported, the maximum were from Nigeria (601), followed by Bangladesh (328) and Afghanistan (61).
In the 15-month period, a total of 16,121 Long Term Visas were granted to Pakistani nationals. A long-term visa is a precursor to Indian citizenship. The visa facility was first introduced in 2011 for persecuted Hindus from Pakistan. The LTVs granted to Pakistani Hindus from 2011-2014 stood at 14,726. The BJP government at the Centre will reintroduce the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 in the coming winter session of Parliament. It proposes to grant citizenship to six religious minorities-Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before December 31, 2014. The Bill lapsed in the previous Lok Sabha as the House was dissolved following election of a new Parliament.
In 2016 and 2017, a total of 2,298 and 4,712 LTVs respectively were approved to Pakistani nationals.