Visa policy to be revised, Nisar gives directions to ministry

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Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan has directed his ministry to revise and update visa rules besides introduction of online visa regime so as to bring in transparency, minimize discretion and expedite the entire process.
The Minister was chairing a high-level meeting here on Monday also attended by secretary Interior, chairman NADRA, advocate general, chief commissioner ICT, Acting IG Islamabad and senior officers of FIA and Ministry of Interior.
Noting that a lot of good work has been done in process of issuing 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 the system.
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 that 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 exit points on borders the Interior Minister ordered speedy completion of the concept paper for the modern Immigration and Border Control Department.
The Minister observed that as first step, a separate body of Immigration & Border Management should be set up under the Federal Investigation Agency.
He said that modern immigration department would strengthen border control management of the country which is currently managed by the Federal Investigation Agency.
FIA officials also gave a detailed briefing to the Interior Minister over the recoveries in various cases.
For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the foreign airlines were fined for violation of visa policy and were asked to take back such passengers back to the port of their embarkation on their own cost.
On the issue of action against individuals involved in blasphemous content on social media, the Interior Minister reiterated that blasphemous and terrorism related content on the social media were both intolerable for the state of Pakistan and 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 PTA for removing all those social media pages which could cause religious unrest in the society or glorifying terrorism or terrorists on the internet.
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 meant for smooth entry and exit of the commuters travelling between the twin cities. Free lanes would help the citizens using RFID technology to enter the capital without any hassle.

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