An important question for Indian and Pakistani visa officials
Whether you are a Pakistani applying for an Indian visa or an Indian applying for a Pakistani visa, the road ahead is a challenging one for you. I have been fortunate in that I have a strong sponsor in the form of Nasscom who are P@SHA’s counterparts in India. However, even then there are stumbling blocks especially if you are applying for a Triple Entry or Multiple Entry visa. Let me tell you about some of them.
So if you are applying for a triple entry visa, you are asked what your port of entry will be – Delhi/Mumbai/Wagah. How is one supposed to know if during a 12 month period one will have to go to a meeting to Mumbai/Bangalore/Pune which would mean entering via Mumbai OR if one will be going to a meeting in Delhi/Gurgaon/Chennai which would entail going through Delhi. You are also expected to know which hotel you will be staying at. Really ridiculous. So what does one do? Either get a crystal ball or guess and keep your fingers crossed that those will be the cities you will be going to and that the relevant hotels that you have mentioned will have rooms available should you need to stay there.
And before we have a barrage of anti-India statements, our government does the same. It is called reciprocity.
Stranger still is what happened this year to one of our delegates who had booked Hotel A in Mumbai to stay at but when she discovered that it was miles away from where the conference was, and that everyone else was staying at Hotel B, she tried to cancel the room in Hotel A and book a room in Hotel B. She was told by Hotel A that she would be charged for one night (which is normal) so she decided to stay in Hotel A for one night and then move to Hotel B for the days that remained. At the airport, in the column on the Residence Permit where she was asked to fill in the name and address of the hotel she would be staying at, she put in the name and address of Hotel B because that was where she would be spending the larger portion of her stay.
Big mistake! When she got to Hotel A, she was told that they could not put her up for the one night because the Residence Permit had the name of Hotel B on it. They would be breaking the law if they allowed her to stay. The hotel management was very nice; they called the other hotel and arranged for her to move to Hotel B the same night but it was a hassle and it was tiring and time-consuming for the poor lady. She looked absolutely harassed by the time she checked into Hotel B where we ran into her and she related this entire story.
My question to both governments – Do we really have to do this to each other? Who designs these forms? Don’t they think the whole thing through? Can’t they make things easier. Even the US that is so security conscious, gives a country visa to us. Why should India and Pakistan not do the same for each other? Let us do away with the city specific visas and the defining of ports of entry. Harassing business people and family visitors doesn’t keep out the terrorists. They have their ways and get in somehow.
Another update is that the Indian CID has taken a liking to me. I have been travelling to India for the past 12 years on business but it is only in the last two years that I have been visited by the CID. They are polite enough and I guess they are just doing their job but surely their time could be better utilized elsewhere rather than checking up on me and asking me why I am there, how long was I going to stay, the exact details of my flight back, what i was going to do while I was in India etc. etc. Come on guys – have I suddenly started to look more suspicious than I did before? Surely not! I also object to the fact that although I had told you that 8 more colleagues of mine were arriving the next day, you didn’t come to check up on them. Why do I get all the love? ;)