Former Australian batsman Dean Jones has finally arrived in Pakistan on Sunday night, after enduring an embarrassing episode of being sent back earlier due to an invalid visa. He is a regular visitor to Pakistan, having commentated for PTV Sports and is now taking over as coach of a team in the new Twenty20 league. Jones took to Twitter to say that he was “not deported” and will be coming to Lahore later tonight, clarifying that he had a valid visa but his “paperwork was incomplete due to recent changes in visa policy.”

However Mr. Jones sugarcoats it, the fact remains that lax attitudes adopted by the visa issuing authorities as well as the freedom that foreigners often enjoy when travelling to Pakistan on their whim, make for a bad mix. The FIA had issued a statement that he “arrived without Pakistani visa and no permission letter of VOA, BVOA, LP was sent by Interior to waive visa condition,” and hence had to be deported. It is encouraging to witness that the Interior Minister has taken a tough stance on the issue and made an example of him to drive the message across to the international community; Pakistan will no longer tolerate any breach in its immigration and visa policies and we follow the rules.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan later issued a statement saying action will be taken against the airline that flew Jones to Pakistan without a visa. PIA is often penalised for violating the law in other countries, even minor offences, why shouldn’t we do the same. Every passenger must be aware of the country’s visa requirements before they travel and this culture of granting permission of entry according to the status of the passenger must end immediately for the safety of the country.