ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony on Wednesday said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued new travel guidelines for Pakistani pilgrims who intend to travel to Iraq by air.

The foreign ministry has advised that religious tourists intending to fly to Iraq should return home country via the same route. Besides, pilgrims who intend to travel to Iran from Iraq should obtain a visa from the Iranian embassy in Islamabad before proceeding to visit sacred places.

Seeking an Iranian visa was a must for pilgrims to avoid issues in obtaining a third country’s visa on arrival, the religious ministry’s advisory said.

The foreign ministry issued the guidelines to the religious ministry after consultations with Iranian and Iraqi authorities.

Meanwhile, a senior religious ministry official told Dawn that strict measures had been taken by Iraqi authorities after reports of human smuggling and slipping of people who travel to Iraq on pilgrims’ visas, whereas those who try to enter Iran through the land route faced documentation issues at the border crossings.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2023

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