Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Process of issuing visas to Indians start

Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 21:07 [IST]
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New Delhi:The process of issuing visas to Indian cricket fans who want to see the forthcoming Indo-Pak cricket series began on Thursday, but most applications were not accepted by the Pakistan High Commission in the absence of confirmation letter from the cricket Board of that country.

Confusion continued outside the High Commission, where a separate window was opened to process cricket visas, as people were turned away after being told that their applications would be accepted only with the Pakistan Cricket Board's letter and a PIN number confirming that their tickets were valid.

Tickets for the matches were booked on the internet and most applicants were carrying only printouts of the booking orders.

"I have been in Delhi for two days but have not been able to even apply for the visas because of lack of information," said Mahesh Sharma of Chandigarh, who wants to travel with his family to see the One-day matches in Lahore.

"I could reach the visa window after waiting in line for an hour but was told that my application would be accepted only with a PCB confirmation," he added.

Most people faced a similar problem and returned dejected. However, a Pakistan High Commission official said several applications had been accepted on Thursday but refused to divulge numbers.

"These applications are already in the process and we expect the visas to be issued from Friday. When the special cricket visa window opened at 09.00 hrs today, there were already over a hundred people waiting in queue. Most of them had also waited for the whole day on Wednesday, but no application was accepted."

"The lack of information is really very taxing. I had to stand in queue for an hour to reach the window just to ask for forms," said Amrit Lal, who has tickets for two One-dayers and one Test match.

"Hopefully I will receive the PCB confirmation in a day or two and then my application will be accepted," he added.

There were other complaints also. One man, who did not want to be named, claimed that he was not given visa forms at the window and had to spend Rs 60 to buy them from typists sitting outside. The fee for each application is Rs 15.

The visas will be issued only for cities for which tickets had been bought. For One-day matches, the duration of the visas would be three days and for Test matches, it would be eight days.

Sports lovers cannot change their mode of transport while going to and returning from Pakistan.

The Indian cricket tour of Pakistan, the first in 14 years, starts from March 3.

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