ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday a new visa policy for 175 countries to promote tourism and investments in the country.
PM Imran addressed the ceremony for online visa inauguration at the capital, where he called the new visa regime a step toward ‘Naya Pakistan’.
During his address, the prime minister said Pakistan does not face security issues now and now the country has to provide better conditions for investment. “Next year Pakistan Premier League matches will be held in Pakistan,” he said.
The PM said that the new visa policies depict a new mindset. “Due to this mindset, people will come to Pakistan and see for themselves the potential of the country.” He said that Pakistan has to promote tourism in order to achieve better investments.
Earlier, interior ministry sources informed that the ‘B list’ has been greatly reduced. Bangladesh has been removed from the ‘B list’, stated interior ministry sources. Now the list only has India and Somalia, sources added.
It was learnt that now around 175 countries will get the facility of applying for an online visa. As per the new visa policy, e-visa facility will initially be provided to five countries namely Turkey, China, Malaysia, United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. The citizens of these countries will be able to apply for Pakistani visa via email at $8 fee. The number of countries for business visa has been increased from 48 to 96.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry while speaking to journalists a day earlier said, “Later on the policy will be extended to 170 countries.”
“Ninety countries will be offered business visa, while 55 countries will be granted visa on arrival,” he added.
“Visa fee has been reduced significantly to attract more and more tourists to Pakistan,” he added. Passenger identification system for e-visa facility has been installed at Karachi and Lahore airports, while it will be also be installed at other airports across the country later, Chaudhry shared.
The information minister further said a visa policy for journalists is also being worked on to facilitate western journalists, which will have a reciprocal effect for Pakistani media persons.
“The government is writing to the Indian Embassy to grant visas to Pakistani journalists, who want to cover the upcoming general elections in India,” he stated.