POK part of India, Pakistan’s visa rules don’t apply: Sushma Swaraj

pok

HIGHLIGHTS

  • India has decided to issue a visa to an ailing POK resident, even though he did not have a letter from Pakistan
  • This was because the government considered POK to be an integral part of India, Swaraj said
  • Osama Ali, a 24-year old resident of Rawalkot, has been diagnosed with a tumour in his liver

NEW DELHI: While India has announced that no Pakistan national will be issued a medical visa without a recommendation from Pakistan’s de facto foreign minister Sartaj Aziz, the government has waived the condition for residents of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK).

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday that India had decided to issue a visa to an ailing POK resident, even though he did not have a letter from Aziz because the government considered POK to be an integral part of India.

Osama Ali, a 24-year old resident of Rawalkot, has been diagnosed with a tumour in his liver, for which his family has sought treatment in Delhi. “POK is an integral part of India. Pakistan has illegally occupied it. We are giving him a visa. No letter required,” Swaraj tweeted.

Swaraj had only last week reiterated the need for Pakistan nationals to acquire a letter from Aziz to be able to avail of medical treatment in India. She had also expressed shock over the fact that Aziz had not even acknowledged her personal letter requesting a Pakistan visa for Kulbhushan Jadhav‘s mother.

However, she assured Aziz that any Pakistan national seeking a medical visa for India with his recommendation would be given one immediately. Swaraj had tweeted, “I have my sympathies for all Pakistan nationals seeking a medical visa for their treatment in India. All that we require is his (Aziz’s) recommendation for … visa to Pakistan nationals.”

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