ISLAMABAD: What could be more ludicrous than the fact that an Indian diplomat has been living in Pakistan without a visa. Whether it is an administrative hiccup or inefficiency of the ministries of interior and foreign affairs, illegal presence of the Indian national in the federal capital has raised serious question marks. A Foreign Office (FO) sources told Daily Times that the diplomat, who serves at a key position in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, had his visa expired more than six months ago. While the FO spokesperson Nafees Zakria tried to keep the matter a hush-hush by expressing his ignorance, an Indian High Commission spokesperson confirmed the presence of the Indian diplomat in Islamabad without a visa. “Yes, the story is absolutely true but we don’t want his name to be published,” Balbeer Singh told Daily Times in a written reply. He asserted that the high commission had been requesting the Pakistani authorities in writing and ‘through other bilateral means’ to get visa for the said diplomat. However, he refused to identify the said diplomat, saying it was against high commission’s policy to reveal the names of their diplomatic staff. The high commission had approached the Pakistan’s Foreign Office to get the diplomat’s visa renewed. In such cases, the FO acts as a post office only, since renewing visa for the foreigners is prerogative of the interior ministry. However, the FO can always expedite the process by requesting the interior ministry to cut the bureaucratic delays. The FO spokesperson expressed his unawareness before making a cautious statement that the case of the Indian diplomat might have been ‘under process’. “This is no news story. These are normal practices throughout the world. The process of renewal of visa may take several months. As far as the case is under process, we cannot say the Indian diplomat is living here without a visa,” he justified the situation, on the basis of assumption. Both Pakistan and India are signatories to an agreement under which the diplomats are granted visa as per the tenure of their assignment. The said Indian diplomat was serving in a Middle Eastern country before coming to Islamabad. Though he was supposed to serve at Islamabad station for three years, he was granted only one-year visa. Sources said the case of the Indian diplomat awaits approval from Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who maintains a rather tough stance towards India unlike his boss Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In a recently held conference of SAARC home ministers, Chaudhry Nisar exchanged unpleasant rant with his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh. Chaudhry Nisar did not play a good host at the conference. He was supposed to have lunch with the home ministers of other SAARC countries, who were visiting Pakistan on his invitation. Chaudhry Nisar’s absence from the lunch had prompted the Indian home minister cut his trip short and return home. Standoff between the two neighbouring countries intensified on the diplomatic front after the Indian government downgraded Pakistan to a non-school going mission. The Indian government asked its diplomatic and non-diplomatic staff in Islamabad to arrange for the education of their children somewhere outside Pakistan. The decision forced several families of Indian diplomats return to home country.