India has decided to issue 3,000 visas to Pakistani nationals to witness the upcoming Indo-Pak limited over cricket series beginning December 25.
For the first time, India has also agreed to issue multiple city visa to the cricket lovers of the neighbouring country provided they show tickets for the matches, travelling tickets and hotel reservation slips. The decisions have been conveyed to Pakistan, Union home ministry sources said.
Of the 3,000 visas, 1,000 will be issued for the match to be played in New Delhi while 500 each visas will be given to those who want to cherish matches in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Kolkata.
The series would comprise three ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals between December 25, 2012 and January 6, 2013. The ODI matches will be played in Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi and the Twenty20 games in Bangalore and Ahmedabad.
However, no Pakistani cricket fan will be allowed to cross the border on foot (the facility is available in Wagah) but can cross over by bus, train or can travel by air. The decisions have come following series of meetings held by a high-level special committee comprising home ministry officials and security agencies in the last one month.
Sources said extra precautions would be taken before granting visas as several Pakistanis in the past have gone missing after arriving in India to watch cricket matches. 12 Pakistani men, who came to India to watch the last India-Pakistan bilateral cricket series held in November- December 2007, did not return home and are yet to be traced.