Pakistani cricket fans, eager to watch the much-awaited Indo-Pak series in December, will require an Indian sponsor for their transit into India.
The order, issued by Pakistan Home Ministry, was decided in light of the 2007 incident where 12 Pakistanis had gone missing after the bilateral series held in November that year. Those reported missing are yet to be found.
"There will be no relaxation of visa rules for the cricket fans. We cannot compromise our security as it is our prime concern. So, whoever seeks visa, has to name a local sponsor," a Home Ministry official said, according to Press Trust of India.
Under the new rule, Pakistani citizens should meet the prescribed criteria to obtain visa. There is also provision for nationals to apply for multi-city visas.
"The visitors will have to apply with documents including their proof of stay or hotel booking in India, air tickets confirmation and tickets of the matches in advance in case the person is willing to watch the whole series," an official told The Indian Express.
A Pakistani national was earlier eligible to get visa for three cities which can be extended to five cities, if the India-Pakistan visa rule is executed ahead of the commencement of the series, reported PTI.
The matches will be held between Dec 25 and Jan 6.
Home Minister Rehman Malik and then Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna signed the India-Pakistan visa pact on Sept 8, that allows relaxation of visa norms for people coming from certain quarters.
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