Pakistan to ease visa regime to facilitate investors

| COAS shares army’s input in meeting chaired by PM | Both leaders also discuss security, regional issues in separate sitting

ISLAMABAD  -   Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa Thursday briefed Prime Minister Imran Khan on overall security situation in the country and also gave input of Armed Forces in the government policy on opening up of the country through further easing the visa regime.

Army Chief called on Premier Khan at his office and later also attended a high-level meeting on revisiting visa system for easing the foreign investors’ travel to the country.

The facilitation of foreign investors in the country to attract foreign investment is part of the PTI government policy and easing the provision of visa facilities is part of this endeavour.

Sources informed The Nation that the meeting thoroughly discussed the matters of visa regime. However, it was decided that while framing the new visa policy special measures would be taken so that terrorists could not take advantage of this facility.

The meeting was also attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi.

Earlier in one-on-one meeting between the prime minister and army chief the overall security situation in the country came under review and both the leaders showed satisfaction over the improved law and order.

Gen Bajwa also briefed the prime minister on the gains of ongoing Raddul Fasad operation against militants, who are on the run now. He expressed his resolve that Pakistan Army in aid with civil law enforcement agencies would weed out the menace of terrorism from the motherland. Both of them agreed to continue the operation till the elimination of all terrorists.

The recent violations of Line of Control and Working Boundary by Indian forces also figured in the meeting and Prime Minister Khan made it clear that the restraint adopted by Pakistan should not be taken as weakness and any hostility from across the border would receive a matching response.

The prime minister also expressed satisfaction over the initiation of negotiations between the United States and Afghan Taliban with the facilitation of Pakistan and hoped that durable peace would return to the neighbouring country soon.

He reiterated that the salutation to Afghan imbroglio lied in the Afghan led and Afghan sponsored peace negotiations and shared with COAS the details of his recent telephonic contact with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani - who had thanked PM Khan for Pakistan’s positive role in facilitating the parleys.

The matter of opening of Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims also figured in the meeting and the premier expressed concern over the delaying tactics being adopted by Indian government on the move purely taken on humanitarian grounds by Islamabad.

Earlier this week Pakistan had sent a draft of the proposed agreement on the border corridor to India and called for initiation of negotiations for its finalisation.

A statement issued at the time by the Foreign Office said: “The Government of Pakistan has shared the draft agreement between Pakistan and India for facilitation of Sikh yatrees (pilgrims) to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Narowal.”

The statement was accompanied by a short video titled “Development of Kartarpur Corridor” and 14 pictures showing development activity on the Pakistan side.

New Delhi instead of responding to Islamabad’s initiative had asked Pakistani delegation to visit India to discuss and finalise the modalities. The invitation also suggested two possible dates — Feb 26 and March 7 — for the meeting.

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