Pakistan stops visa on arrival for foreigners

Published: April 4, 2017
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Pakistani Airports Security Force (ASF) personnel stand guard as relatives of evacuated from Yemen wait in Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on March 30, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistani Airports Security Force (ASF) personnel stand guard as relatives of evacuated from Yemen wait in Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on March 30, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday ordered immediate suspension of issuance of visas on arrival (landing permits) to foreigners to avoid any ‘irregularities’ in the database.

Addressing a high-level meeting held at the Ministry of Interior, he asked the participants for strict implementation of rules and regulations in the ministry and its attached departments.

The interior minister also ordered the Ministry of Interior to revise and update visa rules.

He said introduction of online visa regime to bring in transparency, minimise discretion and expedite the entire process should be ensured.

Government to introduce online visa application system

Indifference to this responsibility in addressing the problems of the people will invite serious notice and action, he added.

Noting that a lot of good work has been done in the issuance of visas and areas of immigration, he said that a lot more still needs to be done to streamline the system and remove various lacunas in it.

With the launching of the online visa application and online visa regime, the interior minister said that any anomaly in issuance of visas would be effectively eliminated.

He said central visa database is essential as it would enable Pakistani state institutions to keep a tab on all those travelling to Pakistan on any visa category.

To ensure strict surveillance of Pakistan’s land, sea and air route entry and exit points on borders, Nisar ordered speedy completion of concept paper for modern Immigration and Border Control Department (IBCD).

The minister observed that as a first step, a separate body of IBCD should be set up under the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

He said modern immigration department would strengthen border control management of the country which is currently managed by the FIA.

The FIA officials also gave a detailed briefing to the interior minister about the recoveries in various cases, including human trafficking and the recoveries made from various petroleum marketing companies in lieu of petroleum levy.

It was informed that FIA recovered Rs2.513 billion in various cases in 2016. An amount of Rs2.13 billion had also been recovered and deposited in the national treasury from the inquiry into recovery of petroleum levy.

It is pertinent to mention that recoveries by FIA in 2010 were Rs528 million, Rs690 million in 2011 and Rs110 million in 2012. The recoveries by FIA during the present government stand at Rs2.23 billion in 2013, Rs2.27 billion in 2014, and Rs6.39 billion in 2015.

As a result of a proactive approach under the directions of the interior minister, vast improvement has been witnessed in the overall performance of FIA.

For the first time in the history of Pakistan, foreign airlines were fined for violation of visa policy and were asked to take back the passengers without visa to the port of their embarkation at their own cost.

It was informed that a fine to the tune of Rs94 million was imposed on various foreign airlines for bringing in passengers without valid Pakistani visas and such airlines were directed to take back hundreds of such passengers.

On the issue blasphemous content on social media, the interior minister reiterated that blasphemous and terrorism-related content on social media were intolerable for the state of Pakistan.

He directed that legal assistance of the respective countries should also be solicited against those who are promoting or funding such an ill-activity from abroad.

The interior minister also directed FIA to continue working with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for removing all those social media pages which could cause religious unrest in the society or glorify terrorism.

Blasphemy is an unpardonable offence: PM

The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration gave a detailed briefing on various steps taken for enhanced security of the capital including that of shrines and various entry and exit points of the capital city.

The minister directed ICT administration to ensure establishment of two free lanes for smooth entry and exit of commuters travelling between the twin cities. Free lanes would help the citizens using radio-frequency identification technology to enter the capital without any hassle.

The meeting was attended by interior secretary, NADRA chairman, advocate general, ICT chief commissioner, Islamabad acting IG and senior officers of FIA and Ministry of Interior.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Virkaul
    Apr 4, 2017 - 9:34AM

    Pakistan stops giving visa on arrival to foreigners so that no Osama or no US Seals ever enter Pakistan.Recommend

  • scotchpak
    Apr 4, 2017 - 10:09AM

    excellent moveRecommend

  • BrainBro
    Apr 4, 2017 - 10:20AM

    Pakistan does not lose out in any way as a result of this, anyways. Its passport was recently declared as the second-worst passport to have in the world.Recommend

  • Baber
    Apr 4, 2017 - 11:09AM

    What a wonderful decision. How about improving the system rather then closing it all together. Recommend

  • JK
    Apr 4, 2017 - 11:26AM

    I don’t understand why this is being lauded as a positive move.

    Just as we’re picking up steam on the global business front, we’re making it harder for people to come in. The only people coming in right now are business workers and some tourists.

    The online system is an excellent move but don’t cancel your existing policy unless you have a working replacement. Who knows if the online visa system will ever even happen.Recommend

  • Rebirth
    Apr 4, 2017 - 1:01PM

    The biggest concern on this policy change happens to be coming from across the eastern border. Recommend

  • Ruby
    Apr 4, 2017 - 1:06PM

    Useless bluster. As soon as other countries threaten reciprocal removal of visa-on-arrival, these guys will scramble and restore it. Every day they find innovative ways to undermine their country’s interests.Recommend

  • Faisal
    Apr 4, 2017 - 2:08PM

    @Virkaul:
    you must be one of the jokers in your frivolous Bollywood movies. The real issue is the large number of Indians, and Indian-origin people who visit Pakistan every year for who knows what reason! Recent example being the 2 clerics from India who went to Lahore but then went missing and turned up fine in rural Sindh 2 days later where they claimed there was no cell phone signals and so they were uncontactable. Also, many journalists of Indian-origin but who have abadoned India and live happily as US citizens, etc visit Pakistan and then go back to America spreading lies and propaganda against Pakistan.
    It is to keep proper track of these losers that Pak govt has decided to make this move.

    Good move by Pakistan. Its high time that we realize who the enemy is instead of blaming everything on America and Israel! Recommend

  • Sohail Gem Wazir
    Apr 4, 2017 - 3:05PM

    Good move. Recommend

  • Faisal
    Apr 4, 2017 - 6:53PM

    these Indians trolling our websites are funny. they push each other to “Recommend” their useless and biased comments so that their false comments are the most read ones. It is happening on all our news and paper websites. They are sitting idle all day doing this so that somehow they feel that Pakistan is unaware and defeated! Wake up Pakistan. Let’s ban Indian IPs visting our websites to spread false propoganda!
    PAKISTAN ZINDA-ABAD! Recommend

  • Pg56
    Apr 5, 2017 - 8:53AM

    @Faisal:
    It was revealed that those two clerics had not gone to interior Sind but instead had to been picked up for questioning by your law-enforcement agencies.Recommend

  • Suhas
    Apr 5, 2017 - 12:42PM

    @Faisal:
    Thanks for the comedy comment. I had a good laugh.Recommend

  • Suhas
    Apr 5, 2017 - 12:45PM

    @Faisal:
    Dear friend. The newspaper is a dying industry and needs every cent of advertising revenue it can get. If Indian web clicks bring more money that Pakistani clicks, then so be it. The Tribune might be patriotic towards Pak, but it is a business. If you firewall Indian IPs, they will make much less money.
    Why do you think they allow comments – to bring debate, discussions and fights so we will view the ads. We fight, they earn!!Recommend

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