Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan skips visa policy launch event by Imran Khan 

File photo of Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Islamabad, Pakistan Mar 15, 2019, 12.55 PM (IST) Anas Mallick

Amid recent hostility between India and Pakistan, WION has learnt that Indian High Commissioner to Islamabad, Ajay Bisaria, decided to skip the launch event of Pakistan’s new visa policy at the Pak prime minister's house on Thursday.

Ajay Bisaria returned to Islamabad on March 9 after holding extensive negotiations with New Delhi for 23 days. After the heinous attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, Bisaria was invited by the Imran Khan's office through its foreign affairs office. WION has learnt that Bisaria chose not to attend the event, a move that came hours after Pakistan’s 'iron brother' China put a technical hold on the designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a UN-listed terrorist. 

A large number of envoys and head of different diplomatic missions were present at the Pak prime minister's secretariat where Imran Khan spoke about Pakistan's new liberalised visa regime.

Khan was announcing Pakistan’s new visa policy for 175 countries in an attempt to promote tourism and investment in the country. In the first phase, the residents of Turkey, China, Malaysia, UK and UAE will be given an e-visa facility. Later, the facility will be extended to 175 countries.

Citizens of as many as 175 countries can apply for an online visa while people from 50 countries will be granted visa on arrival. Foreign nationals of Indian origin will also be allowed to avail the facility of visa on arrival for religious tourism.

“Pakistan had a mindset of making the visa-issuing process difficult,” PM Khan said after inaugurating the Online Visa System on Thursday. “The online visa issuance policy is a big change,” he added. 

Pakistan is all set to host the Pakistan Day annual parade on March 23 where the country will exhibit its military might. Last year, Ajay Bisaria, along with other members of the High Commission, was invited. Pictures of them attending the event wearing Pakistan Day parade caps were widely circulated on social media, a move from Islamabad that was not welcomed by New Delhi.

It still remains unclear whether the Indian High Commissioner would be attending this year’s Pakistan Day parade which is to take place on March 23. The event will be attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad as the guest of honour. 

Given the current situation between India and Pakistan, there is a higher probability that Bisaria would choose to bow out from attending the Pakistan Day parade as well.

Story highlights

WION has learnt that Bisaria chose not to attend the event, a move that came hours after Pakistan’s 'iron brother' China put a technical hold on the designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a UN-listed terrorist.