Asif Mehmood – November 24, 2019
LAHORE: Pakistan has issued an on-arrival visa at Wagah border to an elderly Indian citizen as part of an older but not yet implemented agreement between the two neighbours.
Pakistan and India had agreed earlier to allow over 65-year-old citizens with roots in both countries to get on-arrival visa and Islamabad on Saturday took the first step by granting visa to 82-year-old Pyare Singh Manu at Lahore’s famous border crossing.
Manu, who was born at Chuk 25 in Vehari district, has come to Pakistan to visit his native area. The elderly citizen is a writer who currently lives at Batala in Indian Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.
A Pakistani writer, Munir Hushyarpuri, 44, has played a key role in making Manu’s longstanding dream come true. Talking to The Express Tribune, Hushyarpuri said he met Manu during his 2013 visit to Indian Punjab in connection with a conference on Punjabi language and literature.
“Manu expressed his desire to visit his native area but said it was difficult for him to visit New Delhi to get Pakistani visa. I later requested the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to issue Manu a visa on basis of the agreement with regard to elderly citizens.
“The High Commission provided us great assistance. And now Pyare Singh Manu has become the first elderly Indian citizen who has been granted on arrival visa at Wagah border crossing,” he said.
Expressing his pleasure on arriving in Pakistan, Manu said he felt as if he was born again. The senior Indian citizen, however, said the process of getting visa at the border was rather tiresome.
The spokesperson of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi confirmed that both the countries had signed an agreement to allow each other’s elderly citizens with roots in both the countries get an on-arrival visa at Wagah-Attari crossing. However, the agreement had not yet been implemented.
He said they got Manu’s request through an email and the Indian citizen was sent the visa via email after completion of all formalities. Later, the high commission also informed the Pakistani immigration office at Wagah about issuance of visa.
The Express Tribune