With the much-anticipated India-Pakistan cricket match on the horizon, the excitement among Pakistani cricket enthusiasts and media personnel is reaching a fever pitch. However, amidst the fervor lies a pressing concern: how will they navigate the application process? Since May 2017, Pakistan has enforced restrictions on accessing Indian government websites. This has had a profound impact, particularly on the operations of the Indian High Commission within the country and individuals in pursuit of visas to India.

This impasse raises a significant question about the feasibility of securing essential documents for those eager to be a part of this high-profile event. For many, the match is not just a game but an experience, an opportunity to witness the exhilarating contest between two cricketing giants.

Due to reported difficulties in accessing the high commission’s website, local sources have suggested visa seekers utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for seamless access. Cyber experts have indicated that using a VPN to complete the Indian visa application, while it may provide access, may not be considered a legal means to approach the Indian High Commission. Highly placed sources have also suggested that it may not be the IHC but rather the Pakistan government that is impeding Pakistani fans from obtaining Indian visas.

Efforts are underway to seek a resolution, as bridging this gap in access is crucial for cricket enthusiasts and members of the media on both sides of the border, informed the sources. A swift solution is imperative, ensuring that the enthusiasm surrounding this momentous occasion is not dampened by logistical challenges, said Ramesh Yadav, a peace activist and president of the Folklore Research Academy.

A journalist from Pakistan has informed me that he has received the accreditation letter from BCCI and has completed all the necessary formalities. However, TCS and Gerry’s International, courier and logistics companies in Pakistan, are refusing to accept the application for couriering it to the Indian High Commission. My Pakistani journalist friend has requested that I refrain from mentioning his name to ensure he doesn’t encounter any issues with visa approval from the Indian High Commission.

Yadav urged that if applications are facing challenges with the online submission process, India could consider opening a special window for cricket fans.

As the match day draws nearer, the anticipation continues to build, with many hopeful that a solution will be found in time for the event, allowing fans to fully participate in this celebration of cricket. The ball is now in the court of authorities to address this critical issue and ensure a seamless experience for all involved.

Mehmood Ahmad Babar, a devoted cricket fan from Lahore, shared with me that he not only purchased the tickets but also secured hotel reservations and completed all the necessary formalities. Unfortunately, despite his earnest efforts, he encountered obstacles, ultimately preventing him from submitting his visa application.

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