ISLAMABAD: An Indian diplomat has been living in Pakistan without a valid visa for the last six months, sources close to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Sunday.

Both the FO and interior ministry are responsible for letting an Indian national live in the federal capital without visa. The diplomat was serving in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and had his visa expired some six months ago.

Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakria expressed his ignorance of the matter. However, 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,” the spokesperson, Balbeer Singh, told Online in a written reply.

He asserted the Indian High Commission had been requesting the Pakistani authorities in writing and “through other bilateral means” to get visa for the said diplomat.

He refused to identify the said diplomat, saying it was against the policy to reveal the names of diplomatic staff of the Indian High Commission.

New Delhi had approached Islamabad to get his visa renewed. In such cases the FO acted as a post office, since renewing visa for the foreigners is prerogative of the interior ministry. However, the FO could always expedite the process by requesting the interior ministry to cut the bureaucratic delays.

The FO spokesperson first expressed his unawareness before making a cautious general statement that 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, yet he was granted one-year visa.

Sources said the case file of the Indian diplomat awaits approval from Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Diplomatic standoff between the two neighbouring countries intensified on 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 returned to India.