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September 20, 2012

India, Pak new visa agreement may take up to six months to come into action

     Dubai: The visa agreement signed between India and Pakistan, which aims at easing visa rules for travellers to each other's country, may take at least three to six months before it translates into reality. "Before it (visa agreement) comes under operation, it has to be ratified at both ends... it is a very important agreement and part of India's step-by-step graduated approach towards normalisation of its relations with Pakistan," Dubai-based newspaper Xpress quoted Namrata Kumar, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, as saying. "The ratification process generally takes time - between three to six months. However, since both countries are keen to make the agreement operational at the earliest, we anticipate that this should not take much time," she added. The Indian Consulate in Dubai said it received 63 visa applications from Pakistanis in August against 53 the previous month. Meanwhile, the initial excitement of many cross-border couples has now given way to skepticism, who have claimed to be in a wait-and-watch mode. Floyd, a Dubai-based event manager from Karachi who is married to an Indian, said he had applied for a visa in June soon after news of the impending visa regime broke, but the outcome was "disappointing". "Two weeks ago, I came to know from BLS that my visa has been rejected but I was not notified about the grounds of rejection," he added. Zubair Farooqui, a Dubai-based Indian with a Pakistani wife, said: "The new rules don't excite me as I don't see any benefits for cross-border couples. Why can't we get visas on arrival?"
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