No Sponsor – No Indian Visa for Pakistanis to Watch Cricket Matches

India’s Home Ministry officials have announced that any cricket fan from Pakistan wishing to watch the up coming cricket match series between Pakistan and India must have a local sponsor in order to get visit visa.  India is not setting any upper limit for the number of Pakistani cricket lovers and  anyone meeting the requirements will be granted the visit visa.Any Pakistani cricket lover who wants to visit India to watch the upcoming limited over India-Pakistan cricket matches will have to have an Indian sponsor to get a visa as 12 Pakistani spectators had gone missing after the 2007 bilateral series.

India and Pakistan are resuming cricket matches in December this year. There will be two one day matches and two t20 matches. The matches are expected to draw the attention of large number of cricket fans from both countries.

Pakistani nationals have to obtain visa to cross the border between the two countries. Despite recent liberalized visa agreement between the two countries, it is difficult to get visa for either country.  Pakistani nationals will need local sponsor and copy of the cricket match ticket in order to get the visa for India.

“There will be no relaxation of visa rules for the cricket fans,” a Home Ministry official said.  “We cannot compromise our security as it is our prime concern. So, whoever seeks visa, has to name a local sponsor,” the official further added.

Apparently the decision to require local sponsor is based on the fact that 12 Pakistani cricket fans did not return to Pakistan in 2007 after cricket match series between the two countries. However, all the Pakistanis who visited India for the 2011 Cricket World cup left India.

India has alleged Pakistan based terrorist groups for carrying out number of terrorist activities resulting in killing of many Indians. Indian officials do not want take any chance as terrorist may enter India as cricket fan and then engage in terrorist activities.

The current cricket matches between the two countries indicate the sign that bilateral relations are improving.


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