NEW DELHI  - Two senior Pakistani government officials, who were set to attend a high-level trade promotion meeting here next week, have not been given visas.

According to reports, after refusal from New Delhi, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had returned their passports without the visas.

While visas have been refused to some Pakistani citizens in the past, this is the first time that government officials have been denied visas in recent years, at least since the dialogue process resumed in 2010.

The two officials are key functionaries in Pakistan's Commerce Ministry, Abdul Kabir Kazi, Joint Secretary in the Ministry and Secretary of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, and Nasir Hameed.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan is the equivalent of the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), which had sent invitations to Islamabad for the Asian Trade Promotion Forum being held in Agra on March 5-7.

Although Pakistani officials are invited by government agencies only after requisite clearances from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and other agencies, it was not clear why the visas had been refused.

In January this year, two Pakistani diplomats based in Delhi were not allowed to visit Jaipur for the literature festival.