NA speaker urges UK to relax visa rules for Pakistanis

Updated January 26, 2020

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National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser articulated his thoughts when British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner called on him. — Photo courtesy GOP Twitter/File
National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser articulated his thoughts when British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner called on him. — Photo courtesy GOP Twitter/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly speaker has urged the British High Commissioner to insist upon his government to relax its visa requirements for Pakist­ani nationals following its announcement of updated travel advisory for the country.

National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser articulated his thoughts when British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner called on him, according to an official statement released on Saturday.

Dr Turner informed Mr Qaiser regarding their new travel advisory to Pakistan which now allows its citizens to travel by road to the north of Pakistan. He added that the advisory was upgraded in the wake of the improved security situation of the country.

The speaker lauded the decision and urged Dr Turner to emphasise to his government that it should now relax its visa rules for Pakistani nationals. Moreover, the visa centre for Pakistan currently based in the United Arab Emirates should be moved to Pakistan. And, presently the visa fee was too high which need to be reconsidered, he added.

Mr Qaiser said that Pakistan has relaxed its visa regime to attract tourists from across the globe and a visa portal has also been established for the issuance of online visas to international tourists.

The speaker also informed Dr Turner that the government and relevant agencies of Pakistan had taken numerous steps for countering terrorism as well as barring its financing. Therefore, friendly countries such as the UK should play their due role in removing Pakistan from the grey-list of the FATF.

Mr Qaiser also lauded ongoing projects of the United Kingdom in Pakistan for parliamentary development and said that there was still a need to further expand the scope of the projects for the capacity building of parliamentarians as well as parliamentary officials so they can better cope with challenges when enacting legislation.

He also outlined the need for initiating such parliamentary development projects in Khyber Pakhtun­khwa so that the capacity of the legislators in the province could also be built to bring them at par with their counterparts.

Referring to Brexit, the speaker said it was a challenge but could also be an opportunity for instance to enhance trade and commercial ties with Pakistan.

He proposed that relevant committees in the two parliaments dealing with commerce and trade collaborate with each other.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2020