ISLAMABAD - Ministry of Interior Tuesday issued new Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) for those delegates and their staff who visit Pakistan for hunting purposes.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has given approval to the draft of new SOPs that relates to the visit, immigration clearance and transportation of delegates as well as their staff, who visit Pakistan for hunting purpose, the interior ministry said.

Last week, the Ministry of Interior had decided to prosecute those foreigners under the law entering Pakistan without valid visas or ignoring due process of immigration.

The decision followed the earlier step of the government, taken in the first week of this month, to suspend facility of ‘visa on arrival’ by banning issuance of landing permits to foreigners accompanying some foreign dignitaries or delegations.

The interior ministry Tuesday dispatched the approved draft of SOPs to all the relevant ministries, including Foreign Office, the foreign embassies in Pakistan and Pakistani Missions abroad.

According to SOPs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs would provide advance information about the arrival of the staff of international delegates to relevant departments one week before their arrival. 

Similarly, the departments concerned would also be provided details of visit of international guests and other important personalities at least 72 hours before arrival.

The ministry in its SOPs has also identified the landing points for international flights coming to Pakistan while on board delegates and their staff for hunting purpose.

The Pakistan government has issued hunting licences of Houbara bustard to royal families of a number of Arab countries who usually visit Pakistan on chartered flights during hunting season. 

Under the newly approved SOPs, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), Customs Department and local administration would ensure immigration, security and other necessary facilities at specified landing points to facilitate the delegates.

After suspension of all types of landing permits by the ministry, the foreigners must obtain visa to enter Pakistan and complete all required immigration process and in case of violation, legal action, including an arrest, would be taken, the ministry added.

The SOPs say that Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be provided details about all such incoming flights to be cleared by FIA while relevant departments would designate focal persons for this purpose.

Earlier, the ministry had also taken serious note of visa irregularities and breach of security protocols by the advance teams and accompanying staff of various hunting parties especially from the royal families of Middle East. According to some unconfirmed reports, some Indians had also landed at a national airport in Sindh as part of advance team of foreign hunting party while ignoring the due immigration process and security clearance.