Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'Relax visa restrictions, bring people (of Pakistan and India) closer'

CHENNAI:  A Pakistani human rights activist on Sunday appealed to both the Indian and Pakistani governments to relax their visa restrictions to increase people-to-people contact between the neighbouring countries. 
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a programme organised at SRS Sarvodaya Girls Hostel here, Saeeda Diep, chairperson of Institute for Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS), said, “Relaxing the visa controls would go a long way in mending the strained relationship between the neighbouring countries. People on both sides are eager to increase their base-level people-to-people contacts.
To prevail upon the Pakistani regime and its Prime Minister, the IPSS has recently launched a nation-wide signature campaign targeting educated youth in the country. “Within the two weeks into the campaign, we are getting good response from youths and we planned to collect about one lakh signatures and submit the petition with the Prime Minister (of Pakistan) on August 14,” Saeeda told Express.
If visa controls are relaxed and people were allowed to visit frequently on either sides just like how Indians visiting Nepal, it will not only benefit the people on both sides, who have different opinions about each other, but also help to mend discontinued relations living apart (on both sides) for decades,” Saeeda added.
She also asked her counterparts in India to launch a similar signature campaign here to appeal to the Indian Prime Minister to take affirmative steps towards relaxing the visa restrictions.

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