Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday announced that various parts of the country that were earlier out of bounds to foreigners and required No-Objection Certificates (NOC) to visit are now open to them.
Chaudhry shared an Interior Ministry notification on Twitter which said that "Free movement of foreigners shall be allowed in Open Cantonments except prohibited and restricted areas with visible signboards. The border crossings will be open and non-restricted."
Additionally, the notification stated that Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral shall be non-restricted/non-prohibited except:
- Pak-China border (10 miles)
- Pak-Afghan border (10 miles)
- AJK, along Line of Control (5 miles)
- GB, along LoC (5 miles)
- Siachen, along Line of Actual Contact (10 miles)
"Another landmark achieved. NOC regime for foreigners comes to an end. Imran Khan's vision is to make Pakistan a heaven for tourists, and following new visa regime, this important policy decision of ending NOC requirements is a leap forward," Chaudhry said.
The development is a part of Pakistan's "new visa policy" to encourage tourism in the country.
According to the new policy, the government has decided to provide the e-visa facility to 175 countries and visa-on-arrival to 50 countries. Visa-on-arrival will also be provided to Indian-origin British and American citizens holding United States or United Kingdom passports.
Tour operators that are approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will now be allowed to bring groups of tourists to Pakistan.
The PTI in its manifesto promised to develop 20 new tourist destinations during its tenure, at an average of four a year.
The tourism department intends to explore tourism potential in Kurram tribal district and the Samana hill station in Orakzai tribal district under the plan, and has also selected 25 areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where sites will be identified for the promotion of tourism.
Recently, the government also announced it would open the Kartarpur Corridor to Sikh pilgrims from India in 2019, and has outlined a plan to facilitate them.