Pakistan to announce relaxed-visa regime for Afghans: ambassador

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 13 (DNA): Pakistan will announce a relaxed-visa policy
for Afghan nationals particularly students, businessmen, investors and
patients, Pakistan’s ambassador-designate to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad
Khan has said.

Khan said the new policy is aimed at facilitating Afghans as a large
number of people in Afghanistan want to do business, study and seek
treatment in Pakistan.

“The government of Pakistan is committed to ensure more facilities for
Afghan nationals. The main focus is on easing the visa system and
facilitating businessmen,” he said.

Khan, a senior Pakistani diplomat, has served as Director General of
Afghan Desk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ambassador to
Austria.

The ambassador before his departure
to Kabul to assume his new position, said that he will give importance
to promote cooperation in education, science and technology and youth
affairs.

Khan called on President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other officials before departure for
Kabul to discuss his responsibility in Afghanistan, where he had
previously served as deputy ambassador.

“I have assumed office after getting special directives from the leaders
who all underscored the need for strong relations with Afghanistan,”
Khan said.

He said as ambassador it would be his priority to provide more
facilities to Afghans particularly students, youth and businessmen.

A Pakistani official, who was involved in drafting the new visa policy
for Afghans, said that proposals have been finalized and sent to the
federal cabinet for approval.

He said that long-term multiple visas will be issued to students,
businessmen, investors and visitors. Besides, medical visas to patients
will be issued on arrival at Torkham, the major border point, between
the two countries.

“There is also a proposal to end the monthly mandatory exit and re-entry
for Afghans, who will have long-term visas,” he said.

Pakistani embassy and consulates in Afghanistan would issue over 2,000
visas daily before the COVID-19 pandemic which affected both countries,
according to embassy officials. Pakistan’s visa rejection percentage for
Afghans is zero.

The Pakistani embassy has resumed visa service for Afghan students and
also issued visas to those Afghans who travel by air as the main Torkham
border points are still closed.

Both countries do not charge for visas under a bilateral arrangement.

The ambassador-designate called on Afghan Chief of Protocol Khalid
Ghaffari on Saturday to present a copy of his credentials. Khan tweeted
that he had a useful exchange of views to strengthen brotherly ties
between our two countries. DNA

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