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Persons of Indian origin to soon get e-visa to Pakistan

Shahab Jafry
Filed on February 14, 2019 | Last updated on February 14, 2019 at 07.15 am
Persons of Indian origin to soon get e-visa to Pakistan

(alamy.com/ae)

The proposal is likely to be implemented in the coming weeks.

In a landmark development, the Pakistani government has included persons of Indian origin in its new e-visa category, which is meant to facilitate travel into the country primarily for business and tourism purposes.

This initiative rules out cumbersome visa requirements like approaching Pakistani consulates or registering with the police. Instead, persons of Indian origin will be able to apply online and get a visa in seven working days like other preferred foreign nationals.

"The decision is based purely on economic considerations," a senior Ministry of Interior official, who did not wish to be named, told Khaleej Times.

"Invariably the top management and decision-makers of leading international IT companies, like Motorolla and Google, turn out to be second- or third-generation non-resident Indians."

Prime Minister Imran Khan's economic revival plan envisages engagement with top multi-nationals for advisory as well as investment linkages. And the prospect of vigorous visa processes, whenever persons of Indian origin were involved, threatened to make the exercise inefficient.

"There was a clear bias in our visa policy when Indians are concerned, but at the end of the day it would have been counter-productive for us," the official added.

Currently, the visa form has two boxes: current nationality and country of origin, and the Ministry of Interior believes that if the former is neutral, the latter is not a problem even if it is marked India.

"Even our embassies have reported that second- or third-generation foreign nationals are working professionals in their fields and not politically motivated; hence there is no security threat."

The ministry's proposal was accept by Imran Khan at one of his recent cabinet meetings and will be implemented in the coming weeks.





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