ISLAMABAD – India has reportedly imposed an unannounced ban on issuance of medical visas to Pakistani citizens.
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Pakistani patients, wishing to travel to India for treatment, have not been issued visas by the New Delhi government for two months, media reports said on Saturday.
India is “making several changes in the rules to make the visa process more complicated” while no visa has been granted to any Pakistani citizen during last two months, according to Dunya News.
“India has made it impossible for Pakistanis to get medical visas,” an official was quoted as saying by the channel.
However, there was no official confirmation from the Indian side.
Reportedly, around 500 patients travel to India for treatment of liver and heart-related ailments at major hospitals in New Delhi, Chennai and other cities.
Islamabad has expressed reservation over the move that will affect thousands of Pakistanis travelling to India for health reasons.
Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner to Islamabad Gautam Bambawale on Saturday and expressed concern over the issue.
According to Indian media, Narendra Modi’s government is also planning to review business and religious pilgrimage visas offered to Pakistani citizens.
The decision to restrict visa issuance has been taken by India few weeks after it decided to put all bilateral engagements with Pakistan on hold after RAW agent Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence.
Though the curbs will also come at some cost to India, the BJP-led government is ready to go ahead to reflect what foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had announced in Parliament that India will go to any extent to free Jadhav.
The Indian spy was tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under Pakistan Army Act (PAA). He was arrested on March 3, 2016 through a Counter Intelligence Operation from Mashkel, Balochistan.
In March last year, Pakistan Army released a video in which the Indian spy confessed to New Delhi’s involvement in terrorist activities in Balochistan.
After much hue and cry from the neighbouring country, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said India was sponsoring cross-border terrorism in Pakistan. He made it clear that Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence was a warning for those hatching conspiracies against the country.
Last week, India summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and demanded action against Pakistani soldiers and commanders responsible for the alleged beheading of its two security force personnel.
Pakistan and its Army have denied the Indian claims.