Nisar for revising, updating visa rules to bring in transparency

Nisar for revising, updating visa rules to bring in transparency

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday directed the Interior Ministry to revise and update visa rules, besides introduction of online visa regime to bring in transparency and minimize discretion.

Chairing a high-level meeting here, he ordered immediate suspension of visas on arrival under guise of Landing Permits, saying that this laxity cannot be allowed in this manner as it can give rise to serious irregularities.

During the meeting, he asked for strict implementation of rules and regulations both in the Ministry and its attached departments.

The meeting was attended by Secretary Interior, Chairman National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Advocate General, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Acting Inspector General Islamabad and senior officers of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Ministry of Interior.

Chaudhry Nisar said indifference to this responsibility or lackluster approach in addressing problems of people will invite serious notice and action.

Noting that a lot of good work has been done in issuance of visas and areas of immigration, he said, a lot more still needs to be done to streamline the system and remove various lacunas.

With launching of the online visa application and online visa regime, the Minister said any anomaly in issuance of visas would be  effectively eliminated.

He said central visa database is essential as it would enable the state institutions to keep a tab on all those travelling to Pakistan on any visa category.

He also directed speedy completion of the concept paper for modern Immigration and Border Control Department to ensure strict surveillance of Pakistan’s land, sea and air route entry/exit points on borders.

The Minister observed that as first step, a separate body of Immigration and Border Management should be set up under Federal Investigation Agency.

Chaudhry Nisar said modern immigration department would strengthen border control management of the country which is currently managed by FIA.

FIA officials gave a detailed briefing over recoveries in various cases including human trafficking and from various petroleum marketing companies in lieu of petroleum levy.

It was informed that FIA has recovered Rs. 2.513 billion in various cases in year 2016. An amount of Rs. 2.13 billion has also been recovered and deposited in national treasury in inquiry into recovery of Petroleum levy.

It is pertinent to mention that recoveries by FIA in 2010 were Rs. 528 million, Rs. 690 million in 2011 and Rs. 110 million in 2012. The recoveries by FIA during present government tenure stood at Rs. 2.23 billion in 2013, Rs. 2.27 billion in 2014 and Rs. 6.39 billion in 2015.

As a result of proactive approach under directions of  Interior Minister improvement has been witnessed in overall performance of FIA.

For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the foreign Airlines were fined for violation of visa policy and were asked to take back the passengers without visa back to port of their embarkation on their own cost.
It was informed that a fine to tune of Rs. 94 million was imposed on various foreign airlines for bringing in passengers without valid Pakistani visas and such airlines were directed to take back hundred of such passengers.

On issue of action against individuals involved in blasphemous content on social media, the Minister reiterated that blasphemous and terrorism related content on social media were both intolerable for state of Pakistan and directed that legal assistance of respective countries should also be solicited against those who are promoting or funding such an ill-activity from abroad.

The Minister directed FIA to continue working with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for removing all those social media pages which could cause religious unrest in the society or glorifying terrorism or terrorists on the internet.

ICT Administration gave a detailed briefing on various steps taken for enhanced security of Capital including that of shrines and various entry and exit points.

The Minister directed ICT administration to ensure establishment of two free lanes meant for smooth entry and exit of the commuters travelling between the twin cities. Free lanes would help the citizens using RFID technology to enter Capital without any hassle.

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