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 said on Sunday.
Mansoor said the new policy is aimed at facilitating a large number of people in Afghanistan who wanted to visit the country for business, study, and medical treatment.
“The government of Pakistan is committed to ensure more facilities to Afghan nationals. The main focus is on easing the visa system and facilitating businessmen,” he said.
Mansoor, 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, said that he will give importance to promoting cooperation in education, science and technology, and youth affairs.
Mansoor called on President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other officials before his departure 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,” Masood 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 Afghanistan, said that proposals have been finalised and sent to the federal cabinet for approval.
He added 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 crossing 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 used to 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, he added.
It may mentioned that the Pakistani embassy has resumed visa service for Afghan students and to those 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. Masood tweeted that he had a useful exchange of views to strengthen brotherly ties between the two countries.