LAHORE: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid says the Pakistan government has decided to offer 21 days transit visas to the diplomats, officials of the world organisations and non-government organisations and journalists stuck in Afghanistan. Such people have initially been allowed to land at two airports of Islamabad.
Speaking at a news conference here on Friday, Mr Rashid said Pakistan had played its historical role in evacuation of foreigners from Kabul and the world was appreciating it. He said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and immigration directorate had completed preparations to receive the foreigners.
Rebuffing the rumours that various spaces were being vacated, he said only hotels were being vacated so that guests coming from Afghanistan could stay there at their own expense.
The interior minister said the federal government had issued transit visas to 1,500 people while about 1,480 people were given access to Pakistan’s territories through the Torkham border crossing.
Rashid claims foreigners to stay in hotels at their own expense
“Both Torkham and Chaman border crossings are open for those intending to travel to Pakistan, if they have valid documents,” he said and added that the remaining 2,686km border was sealed.
Mr Rashid said the Afghan government had assured Pakistan that its land would not be used against Pakistan and same assurance was reciprocated to Afghanistan.
He said the interior ministry had created National Crisis Information Management Cell (NCIMC) having representation from all provinces and opened a facilitation centre to offer its services round the clock. He said a helpline was also being created to respond to law and order, security and other issues.
The interior minister said the Indian RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) and its agents had miserably failed in Pakistan as it continued to use its consulates to unleash terrorism in Pakistan during the last two decades besides hatching conspiracies against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Stating that Pak-China friendship was unparalleled, he urged the Pakistani media to observe restraint as China was sensitive about the media.
Answering a question, the interior minister said the Pakistan government was waiting for the formation of new government in Afghanistan as well as evacuation of the American troops.
About the opposition role, he said Pakistan was emerging as an important state on the world map and stressed that the opposition should support the country for building its image at international level. If the opposition was not happy with the PTI government’s three-year performance, Mr Rashid suggested that it should wait for another two years and then contest election. In the same breath, he added that this opposition would not be able to defeat Imran Khan and his party in the next election.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2021