The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has issued more visas to Pakistanis in its first two years compared to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government during its last two years. The data has been revealed in the Home Ministry’s annual report and replies in Parliament, according to The Hindu report. The report further states that a total of 1,72,536 visas were granted to Pakistanis by India during 2014-15, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government had taken over the working of the centres. However, only 132,590 visas were grated to them during 2012-13, this was the time when the Congress-led UPA was in power.
While the report does not state the number of visas that were issued in 2016, the Ministry’s annual report claims that 1,04,720 Pakistanis had visited India that year. An official was quoted by The Hindu as saying that there was a difference in the number of visas issued and those who actually visited the country as some postponed their visits or could not visit at all. During 2014, the number of visas issued every month on an average was 7,916. In the year 2012, India and Pakistan agreed to a visa agreement to promote people to people contact. Under the UPA’s regime, a total of 48,640 visas were issued in 2011, 59846 in 2012 and 72744 in 2013. Once the NDA government took over, the numbers increased to 94,993 in 2014 and 77543 in 2015.
In 2015, the Home Minister in a notification let Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan who have fled fearing religious persecution to stay in India despite possessing expired documents.