Indian Visa Confusion Leaves Pakistani Fans Disheartened as Match Tickets Remain Unused


Indian Visa Confusion Leaves Pakistani Fans Disheartened as Match Tickets Remain Unused

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Cricket enthusiasts in Pakistan find themselves lamenting their misfortune as they face insurmountable obstacles in traveling to India for the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup. The primary hindrance is the lack of clarity surrounding the acquisition of Indian visas.

Multiple ticket holders for the matches have expressed their frustration, stating that the money they invested in the tickets may ultimately go to waste. The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has yet to announce a visa policy for Pakistani ticket holders, despite the tournament commencing on October 5 and the much-anticipated India-Pakistan match scheduled for this Saturday.

Given the strained relations between the two nations, the process of obtaining a visa is both protracted and arduous, often requiring comprehensive background security checks by government security agencies on both sides, leading to significant delays.

Individuals from Pakistan planning to travel to India for special events, such as the World Cup, are expected to apply under specific visa policies tailored for match ticket holders and journalists covering these events.

Umer Faizan, a devoted cricket fan who had purchased tickets for Pakistan’s initial two matches in the tournament, voiced his disappointment, stating, “I bought the tickets with three other friends, and it was going to be a trip of a lifetime for us to watch our team in India, but we have no information on how to get an Indian visa.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has expressed “serious concerns and alarm” regarding the predicament faced by fans and journalists and has conveyed this message to the Indian government through a convoluted diplomatic channel. The PCB Chairman, Zaka Ashraf, has called on Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Syrus Sajjad Qazi to address the issue with India’s Home Ministry via the Pakistan High Commission Office in New Delhi.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have escalated since the 2019 attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir and India’s retaliatory cross-border air attacks on what it termed “terrorist training camps.” Recently, Pakistani journalists were asked to submit their passports to obtain visas after a dialogue with the foreign office achieved a positive outcome.

In contrast, in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, hosted by India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, several Pakistani fans and journalists were able to cross the border to attend their team’s semifinal match against their neighboring country. However, the current situation has led many, like Sana Kazmi, a dedicated Pakistani fan, to cancel their plans to travel to India. In 2011, navigating the Indian visa website was a nightmarish experience, but they eventually succeeded. However, this time around, the website remains inaccessible.

Moreover, any posts on social media about the difficulties faced by Pakistani fans or journalists in traveling to India for the World Cup are met with crude and insulting responses from Indians, according to Kazmi.

For one Pakistani fan holding tickets for the tournament’s marquee clash in Ahmedabad on Saturday, the hope of witnessing the match in the world’s largest cricket stadium is fading fast. He has spent a substantial amount on tickets, but the opaque visa process has left him disheartened and searching for answers from Islamabad officials who, like him, seem to be “clueless” about the visa process.


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