Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has rubbished media reports about the United States imposing visa sanctions on Pakistan.
While briefing the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs today, the minister said,
The US has not imposed any restrictions. The US embassy has released a press release in this regard.
He apprised the committee that the US has apprehended more than 70 illegal immigrants and wants to send them back to Pakistan.
The United States has informed us that they have over 70 illegal Pakistanis in their custody and want to deport them. We have asked the US to complete the legal framework in this regard.
He informed the Lower House that the deportees would return to Pakistan tomorrow via a special charter plane.
The minister clarified that the US’s visa sanctions were for only three government officials, and it didn’t apply to other citizens.
He said the US had banned visit visas for joint secretary, additional secretary interior and DG passport for ‘some reason.’
“This is restriction is not on Pakistan, and both the sides have given the clarification for this,” the foreign minister added.
Briefing the committee about the change in policy, Qureshi said the foreign ministry will only issue as many visas as the US does.
If the US issues visas for five years, then Pakistan will issue it for five years as well.
The clarification has come after several news reports claimed that the US was planning to put Pakistan on the visa restriction list.
The primary source for the news was an Indian newswire which was later reproduced in various local and international papers.