Pakistan

NEW DELHI – The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Tuesday said it will grant medical visas in all genuine cases pending with the Indian High Commission in Pakistan.

The announcement, which coincided with the Independence Day celebrations across India, comes at a time when the matter of granting medical visas to Pakistan is under the spotlight following a recent spate of cases.

“On the auspicious occasion of India’s Independence day, we will grant medical visa in all bona fide cases pending with us,” Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said in a tweet on Tuesday night.

This indicates that medical visa applicants from Pakistan will no longer require to procure a letter of recommendation from former Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz.

The external affairs minister had a few weeks back said that Pakistani nationals seeking visas for medical treatment in India must accompany their visa applications with a recommendation letter by the top diplomat.

“A letter of recommendation by Pakistan Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz will enable a Pakistani national to get a medical visa for India,” the MEA had announced in May.

India’s decision to impose restrictions on medical visas for Pakistani nationals came in the wake of growing tensions between the two countries. Pakistan had panned the move and said the restrictions were “highly regrettable” and against diplomatic norms.

In spite of these restrictions, Swaraj has intervened frequently and fast-tracked issuance of visas when Pakistani nationals appealed to her in matters requiring urgent medical attention.