Cabinet approves new visa rules for Afghan citizens

ISLAMABAD – Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb has said the federal cabinet has approved new rules under visa regime review for Afghan citizens, under which Pakistan’s consulates all over the world will process the visas of Afghan citizens by considering their current nationality and passport instead of their country of origin.

She said to promote trade with Afghanistan, a sub-category has been included in the work visa category under which drivers, transporters and helpers have been included in the online visa system. The minister   announced this while briefing newsmen in Islamabad on Tuesday, alongside Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman and Adviser to Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira. She said for multiple entry visas, the six months period will be extendable to one year subject to approval by the Ministry of Interior.

The minister said to promote trade and create ease of doing business in the country; Afghan workers and traders have been exempted from Board of Investment’s recommendation letter and SECP registration requirements. She said NADRA has been directed to make necessary changes in the online system in this regard and a cabinet sub-committee has also been formed for further ease of doing business. She said visa regime review also includes relaxation of visa provision for Afghan patients.

The federal cabinet also approved the country’s first ever National Hazardous Waste Management Policy. Giving details of the policy, the Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said a National Action Plan for the implementation of the policy will be framed within three months. She said the policy will help protect the country’s environment by managing the solid waste which is polluting land and water and causing health issues. The minister said the policy has been framed after consultation with all the provinces so that a country-wide system of responsible disposal of hazardous waste including plastics, hospital waste and electronics waste can be established. She said under the policy, a mechanism has also been devised to stop illegal dumping of foreign solid waste and garbage in the country.

Info minister says sub-category  included in work visa category to allow Afghan drivers, transporters and helpers to avail online visa facility

About other decisions taken in the cabinet meeting, the information minister   told the newsmen that the cabinet has strongly condemned the attack on polio team during the ongoing anti-polio campaign in Tank, which claimed three lives including two police constables. She said the prime minister has sought inquiry report of the incident. Marriyum Aurangzeb said Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has directed to initiate the inquiry and a comprehensive report of the matter will be submitted in the next federal cabinet meeting.

Adviser on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira told the newsmen that the federal cabinet has approved release of over Rs 3 billion   for construction of 1300 homes for Kashmiri refugees in the first phase. He said more than 8000 homes will be constructed in three phases for which the federal government will collaborate with the Azad Kashmir government. He said these Kashmiri refugees migrated to Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan in 1989 due to the brutal operations of Indian forces in Indian Illegally-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He said a summary has also been moved to increase the monthly support fund for these refugees.

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