In the wake of the abduction and murder of two Chinese nationals in Pakistan, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar during a meeting on Wednesday made a policy decision to review the conditions and requirements for the issuance of visas to Chinese nationals, according to an Interior Ministry press release.
The decision comes days after Nisar had been informed that the abducted and murdered Chinese nationals were missionaries who were part of a group of Chinese citizens which obtained business visas from the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing and entered Pakistan.
The decision, according to the ministry's statement, is being taken in order to ensure regulation, streamlining and transparency of the process of visa issuance to Chinese nationals, as well as to preclude misuse of the visa-friendly regime that exists between the two countries.
Decisions reached in the meeting:
Business visas, visa on arrival to Chinese nationals only granted after production of invitation/assignment letter certified and endorsed by recognised Chamber of Commerce and Industry along with letter from commercial attachés, other designated Pakistani officers posted abroad for the promotion of business activities.
Nadra to help industry chambers, FIA with setting up electronic system for information sharing
Regulation of process of granting extensions in business visas. Powers of regional passport offices to grant extensions immediately withdrawn.
Future cases regarding extension in business visas to be dealt with by IMPASS HQ in Islamabad. The DG IMPASS will be authorised to grant three-month extensions. Additional extensions ─ which will be discouraged ─ will be referred to the Interior Ministry
Pakistani embassies, foreign missions authorised to issue maximum one-year multiple entry work visa for any project after verification and security clearance from Chinese authorities.
Extensions in work visa to be granted by Interior Ministry only on request and after provision of required documents by employer.
Reintroduction of Pakistan Origin Cards (POCs) to foreign spouses.
The interior minister called for a comprehensive mechanism to be put in place for the sharing of information of workers not only involved with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), but also other Chinese nationals visiting the country for various jobs.
Chaudhry Nisar also directed Nadra to expedite consolidation of data of Chinese nationals present in Pakistan so that it could be shared with security agencies in order to ensure maximum security arrangements.
The meeting held at the Interior Ministry was attended by the secretary interior, advocate general, chairman Nadra, director general (DG) immigration and passports (IMPASS) and the DG Ministry of Foreign Affairs.