Friday, January 27, 2023

Pakistan offers 21-day transit visas to foreigners evacuating Afghanistan

Pakistan issuing transit visas offers to foreigners stuck in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s interior minister has said the country would offer a 21-day transit visa to foreign nationals evacuating Afghanistan and make necessary arrangements to host them during that period.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and immigration directorate had completed preparations to receive the foreigners.

The announcement was made following a request by the US and other NATO countries to Pakistan to allow transit flights for the completion of the evacuation of their citizens from war-torn Afghanistan.

“We have decided to grant 21-day transit visa [to foreigners], and they will be able to live in hotels on their own expense,” Pakistan’s interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Friday.

The decision was taken following a deadly suicide bombing near Kabul airport on August 26 when the international community began urgent evacuation efforts for foreigners and Afghan nationals.

Rashid said that the Pakistan government was ready to host diplomats, journalists and people associated with international organizations like the World Bank and IMF.

Pakistan, however, is not allowing any refugees to enter, though the land routes between the two countries were open for trade. Pakistan embassy in Kabul is issuing visas to people with valid documents, the minister clarified.

Pakistan government has so far issued transit visas to 1,500 people while about 1,480 people were given access to Pakistan’s territories through the Torkham border land crossing. Both Chaman and Torkha border crossings are open for travel and trade to those Afghans who have valid documents.

Rashid added that Pakistan is playing a key role in evacuation of foreigners from Kabul and the world.

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