Tuesday, October 10, 2023

World Cup 2023: Indian embassy finally begins processing visas for Pakistani journalists

Indian mission asks willing newsmen to submit their passports at the earliest

Representational image of a visa officer issuing visa on a travellers passport. — Reuters/File
Representational image of a visa officer issuing visa on a traveller's passport. — Reuters/File

  • Move comes a day after PCB expressed dismay over delay.
  • Newsmen asked to submit their passports at the earliest.
  • Cricket World Cup has already kicked off on October 5.

In a major development, the Indian embassy has finally started processing visas for Pakistani journalists to travel to the neighbouring country to attend the ongoing International Cricket Council's (ICC) Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.

The embassy on Tuesday started contacting the journalists willing to cover the showpiece event underway in India, and directed them to submit their passports at the earliest.

The much-awaited development came a day after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) once again expressed dismay over the delay in the issuance of Indian visas for Pakistani fans and journalists despite nearly a week into the World Cup 2023.

The mega cricket event began on October 5, but the Indian authorities have not yet issued visas to Pakistanis for attending the World Cup, leaving them in uncertainty.

In a statement, the board said PCB Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf had called upon Pakistan Foreign Secretary Syrus Sajjad Qazi and raised serious concerns and alarm over the delay in fans' and journalists' visas for India to cover the World Cup.

The PCB stated that Ashraf also requested the foreign secretary to take up the issue with India's Home Ministry through the Pakistan High Commission Office in New Delhi.

In line with ICC law, the host country has to issue visas to fans and journalists for covering the events, but India has turned a deaf ear to Pakistan's hue and cry.

The statement said that the board is extremely disappointed to see that journalists from Pakistan and fans are still facing uncertainty about obtaining an Indian visa to cover Pakistan games in the ICC World Cup 2023.

In the meantime, the PCB again reminded the ICC and the BCCI of their respective obligations and terms and conditions stipulated in the Host agreement to guarantee visas for fans and journalists of participating teams.