New Delhi/Islamabad: India has put the squeeze on medical visas for Pakistani nationals by insisting that all requests be accompanied by a “recommendation letter” from the Pakistan PM’s foreign policy adviser, Sartaj Aziz, to ascertain if the requests are genuine.
The move is being seen as an apparent fallout of the death sentence given to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani military court that held him guilty of spying, a possibility New Delhi has denied.
After India’s intervention, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the hanging on late Tuesday night, New Delhi said on Wednesday that it approached the court at The Hague as “the life of an Indian national is under threat”.
Sharif, Army chief go in a huddle
The decision to approach the ICJ was a “very carefully considered decision,” India said.
Pakistan said on Wednesday that it was reviewing India’s plea against the sentence and (the issue of) jurisdiction of the ICJ, with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa reportedly discussing the stay order.
On a question on why India did not approach the ICJ in 1999 in the case of Army officer Capt. Saurabh Kalia who was tortured and killed by Pakistani troops, India did not give any direct reply.
Meanwhile, in his statement on medical visas for Pakistanis, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay told reporters here, “It's not correct that we have stopped medical visas for Pakistani nationals. Thousands of medical visas were issued in the previous years to Pakistani citizens to come to India. The external affairs minister herself was receiving these multiple requests from Pakistani nationals addressed to her.”