ISLAMABAD - Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal told the National Assembly on Wednesday that the security policy regarding issuance of visa was unchanged as no new policy on the subject had been introduced by the incumbent government.

“No new [visa] policy [that goes] against the country’s interest has been initiated in [the] current era. Registered tour operators are transparently doing it [their job],” he said, while responding to a point of order regarding visa issuance raised by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s MNA Shireen Mazari.

Iqbal said the purpose of facilitating the tourists was to promote tourism in the country. Already existing visa policy has been made more transparent, he said. “No Blackwater and other elements threatening the security would be allowed to enter the country,” the interior minister said.

INGO will only be allowed in the country to work for the development of the country, he said, adding they are carefully watched. The visas will be issued through the registered tour operators, which have been given guidelines, the minister said.

Iqbal further said that the NGOs could appeal within 90 days, if they were asked to stop operation. “If the decision comes against an NGO, it had to stop immediately,” he said, mentioning that there was no change in the security policy at all.

Former minister for interior Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, giving his point of view, said that there was a need to discuss this matter in the house. The record of the INGOs and the NGOs regarding mandate and working should be presented in the house, Nisar said. “I can provide the details on it,” he said.

“There were some INGOs working not exactly in their recommended limits,” Nisar said, mentioning that “visa on arrival” policy in the previous era especially during former president Musharraf term in office was misused.

“Visa on arrival should be on reciprocal basis,” the former interior minister said. Tour operators are not above the law, he remarked.

Earlier, Mazari said that some banned INGOs had once again been allowed to operate.

“INGOs may misuse it,” she said, mentioning that “Blackwater” was facilitated in the past.”

Resolution for the struggle of Kashmir

The house unanimously passed a resolution to support the historic struggle for the right of self determination of the Kashmiri people.

The resolution, moved by Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Chaudhry Barjees Tahir, condemned the black law imposed in Jammu and Kashmir under the shadow of the 0.8 million Indian occupation forces.

The Indian occupation forces have illegally-detained many elder Hurriyet leaders, the resolution said.

It stated that thousands of students and youth had been impaired of eye sight due to use of pellet guns.

It said 800,000 Indian troops in the occupied Kashmir have martyred 100,000 innocent Kashmiris including freedom fighter Burhan Wani.

It noted with concern the detention of hundreds of Hurriyet leaders and workers and registration of fake cases against them.

The resolution pointed out that women and youth had been made victim of state terrorism in the occupied Kashmir. It also highlighted the discovery of 7,500 mass graves in the occupied Kashmir.

Kasur incident

MNA from Kasur area, Waseem Akhtar said that there should be public hanging of Imran Ali “involved” in the murder of Zainab.

“Punjab police has arrested the ‘culprit’ but Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif was [still] criticised,” he said, facing rumpus in the house from the opposition benches.

About the MQM-P, Akhtar accused that this party had been involved in “Baldiya factory” incident.

“You [MQM] should be ashamed,” he said, inviting severe criticism by the MQM-P lawmakers.

A government lawmaker, Bilal Virk, during his speech, pointed out lack of quorum in the house, ostensibly to further avoid hullabaloo.

The chair, the deputy speaker, immediately adjourned the house.

Introduction of bills

The Comsats University Islamabad bill, 2017 was introduced in the house and was sent to the relevant standing committee.

Another bill “The Institute for Art and Culture bill, 2018” moved by minister for federal education and professional training, was also introduced.