KARACHI: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed asking staff at the airport to increase immigration counters at the terminal to facilitate travellers.—APP
KARACHI: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed asking staff at the airport to increase immigration counters at the terminal to facilitate travellers.—APP

KARACHI: Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said the federal government has decided to reopen Swiss cases since the Broadsheet inquiry commission has recommended this and the past government already gave $60 million in these cases.

Speaking at a press conference at a local hotel here on Sunday, the minister said the opposition was no more a challenge for Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding that the real challenge for him was to control inflation. He said the premier was fighting mafias in the country so that people could get relief.

“The government would take all the measures to control inflation and will not allow anyone to loot the poor during Ramazan,” the minister said, adding that the Ramazan package had been launched to provide relief to the underprivileged segments of society.

He said that since Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar had been looking into the matters relating to sugar, wheat and other things, a ‘campaign’ was being run against him.

About Pakistan-India ties, Sheikh Rashid said no talks would be held with India until it reinstated Article 370 of its constitution which guaranteed semi-autonomous status for occupied Kashmir.

He revealed that 42 per cent of fencing work along the Pakistan-Iran border had been completed, while fencing along the Pak-Afghan border would be completed by June this year.

About Daska by-election results, the minister said it was a “victory of democracy”. He said the number of votes secured by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf candidate Asjad Malhi demonstrated that the narrative of PM Khan was still popular among the masses. “We have won even after losing the poll as Mr Malhi bagged more votes than past,” he said, adding that peaceful conduct of the Daska by-election should be appreciated.

The minister said credit went to Rangers for maintaining law and order during the Daska by-election, adding that the army had always played a vital role in maintaining law and order in the country and for that they had sacrificed their lives.

The interior minister said that Nadra (National Database and Registration Authority) and passport offices would be opened in every tehsil to facilitate people. He said validity of passport had been increased to 10 years and its fee reduced to half, adding that the process of issuance of e-passport would start from June.

Mr Rashid said the entire visa process had been made online and about 300,000 visas had been issued and 12,000 visa applications rejected. He said the citizens of 192 countries could get Pakistani visa within 30 days subject to clearance from relevant agency of the country.

“We are going to bring reforms in the Federal Investigation Agency,” the minister said, adding that the FIA officers who had been enjoying the same positions for years would be replaced.

Mr Rashid said the government was taking stern action against money launderers and sugar mafia.

FIA desks at Karachi airport

The Federal Investigation Agency would increase the number of desks/counters, introduce online system of paying fines for overstayed passengers and take other measures to provide maximum facilitation to passengers at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, said a senior officer.

The decision was taken during Interior Minister Rashid’s visit to the airport.

FIA Sindh director Amir Farooqi told Dawn that the number of desks/counters at the Karachi airport would be increased to avoid ‘double, triple checking’ and the same facility would be provided at one place.

The officer said at present there were 20 FIA desks/counters at the airport and now 10 more such centres would be established there to facilitate the passengers.

It has also been decided to introduce online system of fine for passengers who overstayed in Pakistan. Mr Farooqi said now the fine system would be online and the overstayed passengers would be granted exemption before their arrival at the airport after paying the same. These and other measures would be taken in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority, he added.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2021

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