The Pakistani cabinet has approved a new visa policy for Afghan citizens, including students and businessmen, as well as a new health visa, prime minister Imran Khan’s special representative for Afghanistan, Mohammad Sadiq, said.
This comes at a time when Abdullah Abdullah, the Chair of the High Council for National Reconciliation in Afghanistan was on a three-day visit to Pakistan.
Cabinet has approved new Visa Policy for Afghan citizens. Acquiring visas will be easy for Afghan visitors with multiple entry visit visas and long term business, investmemt and student visas. A new category of health visa is also introduced which will be issued on border.
— Mohammad Sadiq (@AmbassadorSadiq) September 29, 2020
The new visa regime for Afghanistan is liberal in its scope and application. Various aspects of visas like duration of stay, the validity duration of the visa, and the number of entries in Pakistan have all been substantially increased. It will especially facilitate visiting Afghan brethren, students, businessmen, investors, and medical patients.
According to the details, patients will also be granted visas for up to six months on the Torkhum border to save them the hassle of traveling to the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul or Pakistani Consulates. Pakistani Missions in Afghanistan will now also be able to grant a visit visa for one year with multiple entries and business visas for up to five years, which will be extendable within Pakistan.
Keeping in view the plight of Afghan students, the cabinet had decided that they could now get visas for the whole duration of their studies instead of just for one year.
According to National Assembly Secretariat, the approval of the visa policy comes at the heels of extensive parliamentary deliberations for the last three months, when the Speaker National Assembly, Asad Qaiser took notice of the issue and constituted a Parliamentary Task Force to resolve it.
The Task Force was headed by Special Assistant to the PM on Establishment, Arbab Shahzad.
Numerous meetings were held and visits to border crossing points were undertaken. The speaker chaired a number of meetings himself. The result was an extensive parliamentary input on multiple aspects of the visa policy.
The new visa policy had been framed in the perspective of Pakistan’s brotherly ties with Afghanistan and took a people-centric approach. It will help in bringing the people closer and facilitating Afghans.
The policy will also greatly benefit bilateral trade and commerce, ushering a new era of mutual prosperity especially for people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.