LAHORE -  Pointing out the movement of foreign dignitaries to Pakistan through non-designated entry, exit points which are negatively affecting the immigration laws, Migration Management Cell (MMC) of the Ministry of Interior has suspended issuance of landing permits.

According to a letter addressed to the secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), secretary Aviation Division, secretary Narcotics Control Division (NCD), chairman FBR and director general FIA, passengers will be allowed entry in Pakistan only on valid visa and after going through immigration formalities. In case of violation, action will be taken under the applicable laws, MMC warned in a letter.

The MMC management also expressed concerns over the ill-planning of these dignitaries since they convey their visit plan to authorities concerned at the eleventh hour.

“Every year foreign dignitaries visit Pakistan for hunting expedition, it has been observed that their entourages include foreigner belonging to other countries and they do not convey their travel plans well ahead of their tour so that necessary measures for their visas, security, immigration, customs clearance etc can be taken,” says the letter.

“Further such dignitaries arrive at small airports and bases which are not designated or notified for handling international traffic.

The letter further says, “This state of affairs affects the efficient enforcement of immigration laws and other regulations of Pakistan on this issue”.

The letter also recommended an SOP to facilitate visits of dignitaries from abroad particularly from Middle East to Pakistan for hunting expeditions and for effective enforcement of the relevant customs and immigrations laws.

“FIA, customs ANF and local authorities shall ensure provision of customs, immigration security and allied services at the designated landing areas as per regulations.”

“It may be ensured that visas to staff who do not belong to the country to which the dignitary belongs are issued only after security clearance. “

After clearance of each flight FIA will provide a report about passenger’s details to MOI. All stakeholders will nominate focal person for close coordination and implementation of the SOP, the letter concluded.

On contact, Airport Manager Akhtar Mirza said that no irregular exit, entry point was allowed to any private plane’s passengers from Lahore airport. He said only designated VVIPs are facilitated as per Blue Book.