India to issue only 250 visas to Pakistan fans per match

first_imgFearing that Pakistan-based terrorists could use the upcoming Twenty20 cricket World Cup in India to sneak in, intelligence agencies have suggested that a stringent mechanism should be put in place while issuing visas to Pakistani fans.Sources said, based on intelligence inputs, it has been decided that not more than 250 visas should be issued for Pakistani fans per match.Pakistan is scheduled to play four matches in the group stage including a game against India in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. They might play two more if they reach the semi final and final.”If the team reaches the semi final or final the number of visas to be issued could be increased, but a final decision has not been taken yet,” said a home ministry official.Visa rulesDuring the cricket world cup in 2011, India issued 5,000 visas to Pakistanis who wanted to visit the country to watch the matches.The visas to be issued this year will have a restriction of five days and Pakistani visitors will be closely monitored so that they do not overstay in the country. In the past there have been instances when Pakistani cricket fans have gone missing. Currently there are close to 5,000 Pakistanis who have stayed on in India after their visas have expired.The India-Pakistan match in Dharmashala has already faced some issues with the Himachal Pradesh government saying that it cannot provide security for the match.There has been some opposition in the state, including from ex-servicemen, on holding the match at the hill station. Pakistan will play two matches in Mohali, Punjab – against New Zealand on March 22 and against Australia on March 25.advertisementThe Pakistani team will also play a match in Kolkata on March 16. A team of Pakistani officials has arrived in India to review security arrangements for their team during the tournament.High alertSources said keeping in mind intelligence inputs about Pakistani terror outfits exploiting the situation and pushing in their operatives disguised as cricket fans, it has been decided that the process of issuing visas will be made extremely stringent.A country-wide alert was issued after intelligence reports revealed that 10 Pakistani terrorists might have infiltrated from the Gujarat border. Agencies were alerted of a possible terror strike after Naseer Khan Janjua, Pakistani National Security Adviser (NSA) shared some information with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval. The two NSAs have been communicating with each other even though a formal dialogue between the two countries remains stalled.Following the reports that terrorists from Pakistan are on a mission to carry out attacks against high-value targets, major metros across the country were put on high alert. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, after chairing a high-level security meet on the preparedness of security agencies, said that appropriate action has been taken following the inputs. “We have received some information and whatever necessary instructions had to be given, has been given,” he said.Other than the major metros, a similar alert has also been issued in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chandigarh.ALSO READICC World Twenty20: Pakistan officials get visas to assess security in Indialast_img read more