ISLAMABAD - Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has welcomed the decision of the federal cabinet to accord approval to the new visa policy for Afghanistan.

He said that this decision came at a time when Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Chair of the High Council for National Reconciliation in Afghanistan was in Pakistan. In a statement, the speaker said that the new visa regime for Afghanistan was liberal in its scope and application.

He said that various aspects of visa like duration of stay, validity of visa and number of entries in Pakistan had all been substantially liberalized.

The speaker said that it would especially facilitate visiting Afghan brethren, students, businessmen, investors and medical patients. 

He said that patients coming for medical treatment would benefit more. He said that visa granted up to six months on the Torkhum border would save them the hassle of traveling to Pakistan Embassy in Kabul or Pakistani Consulates.

The speaker said that Pakistani Missions in Afghanistan would now also be able to grant visit visa for one year with multiple entries and business visa for up to five years, which would be extendable within Pakistan.

He said that keeping in view the plight of Afghan students, they could now get visa for the whole duration of their studies instead of just for one year.

Qaiser says it will especially facilitate visiting Afghan brethren, students, businessmen, investors and patients

The speaker while crediting the members of the Parliamentary Task Force said that the approval of the visa policy came at the heels of extensive parliamentary deliberations for the last three months, after he took notice of the issue and constituted a Parliamentary Task Force to resolve the issue.

He said that Task Force headed by Special Assistant to the PM on Establishment Arbab Shahzad  held numerous meetings and undertook visits to the border crossing points and the visa policy was issued after an extensive parliamentary input on multiple aspects.

Asad said that the new Visa Policy had been framed in the perspective of our brotherly ties with Afghanistan and took a people centric approach. It will help in bringing the people closer, facilitating common Afghans. The policy would also greatly benefit bilateral trade and commerce, ushering a new era of mutual prosperity especially for people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It was heartening to see that the extensive parliamentary deliberations for the last three months, finally resulted in approval of the visa policy for Afghanistan by the federal cabinet.

This will help in bringing closer the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan who were tied in cultural, religious and historic affinities.