The Pakistani government is going to introduce an online visa application system for issuance of visas to all foreigners through Pakistani missions abroad.
This development was conveyed by the Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar, who on in a press conference on Tuesday said; “The government has taken multiple steps to make the system of issuance of visas transparent.”
Chaudhary Nisar has received permission from PM Nawaz Sharif to introduce an online visa system. Moreover, the government would also increase visa fees, making them at par with the ones charged from Pakistanis.
The online visa system would be complemented by a digital databank for the issuance of a visa to all foreigners issued through Pakistan missions across the globe. He has already directed NADRA to establish the database. The Interior Minister said:
“The practice that ‘the right-hand does not know what the left hand is doing’ should be eliminated completely. Anyone’s name, who is applying for the Pakistani visa, will be in the record for [cross] checking of government functionaries and security agencies.”
Also, the Immigration Service Department would be a separate entity in the future as Chaudhary Nisar announced its separation from Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). He said: The FIA should not have any connection with the Immigration Department and it must be a separate service.”
The government already has an online appointment method for Pakistnis living in Dubai. Through this service, they can apply for the passports and NICOP (National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis) easily without having to stand in the long queues.
Through online visa system, the government wants to ensure that nobody enters Pakistan without proper documentation. The decision has been made in the wake of 2014 visa scandal including Hussain Haqqani, the Pakistan ambassador in Washington who issued visas to thousands of US citizens without conduscting any verification.