As India rejects every second Pakistani visa application, the percentage of applications rejected reaches a whopping 53 percent, as compared to the 24 percent rejection rate in 2015 and 17 percent in 2014.
The increase in the number of declined visas led the Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to look into the reasons for all the requests being turned down, reports India Today.
"I would be grateful if the reasons for the drastic increase in rejected visas can be ascertained and conveyed. If there is no plausible reason for drastic visa reductions then please do help in ensuring that the proportion rejected visas is retained," he wrote.
Officials speculate that the Pathankot attacks by Pakistani terrorists have soured India-Pakistan relations. Even instances of cross-border disputes in the past two years have added to the situation. Soon after the attacks, a group of nearly 75 pilgrims from Pakistan who wanted to visit a shrine near Agra were denied visa on procedural grounds, adds the India Today report.
Officials have said that the drastic reduction in the grant of visa may have been because of stringent security measures adopted by the agencies, reports Economic Times. Visas from Pakistan involve a lengthy process of verification. This verification is carried out by agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau, who in turn rely on state agencies. Some amount of delay is expected, since the entire process is quite time consuming, said the report further.
Another senior government official quoted by ET said that after the launch of electronic tourist visa, the applications are being processed at a faster rate, which might have resulted in such large number of rejections.