Pakistan extends issuance of visa on arrival to “vulnerable” Afghans

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 12 (DNA) — Pakistan has decided to extend for two more months the facility of issuing visas on arrival to “vulnerable” Afghan nationals destined for third countries, according to officials.

Several Western countries including the United States and Germany, had requested Pakistan for issuing more visas on arrival to Afghans who do not have documents so they could be sent abroad.

An Interior Ministry’s documented dated June 9, 2022, says the “facility of safe passage under phase-III, (visa on arrival facility) through land and air routes for vulnerable Afghans destined for third countries on case to case basis, in accordance with the recipient countries is extended for another period of 60 days, with immediate effect till 8th August, 2022.”

The Interior Ministry in a summary submitted to the cabinet says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has stated that several diplomatic missions in Islamabad have been approaching the MoFA with the request to initiate phase-III of humanitarian safe passage for vulnerable Afghan nationals still in Afghanistan.

“Senior political leaders of these countries have also raised the issue in interactions with their Pakistani counterparts,” according to the document dated May 22, 2022.” The diplomatic missions have conveyed that Afghan nationals would require a visa on arrival due to lack of travel documents.

In the post-15 August 2021 period, it has been Pakistan’s clear policy to facilitate evacuations from Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministry says, adding Pakistan’s actions in this context have generated tremendous international goodwill for the country.

“MoFA has recommended for Phase-III of humanitarian safe passage in order to provide visa-on-arrival facility to Afghans nationals crossing into Pakistan and Afghanistan repatriation of Afghans currently residing in Pakistan of their sponsored countries.”

The diplomatic missions have also expressed their willingness to sponsor the undocumented afghan currently residing in Pakistan. The Foreign Ministry says that in the past-15 august 2021 period, it has been Pakistan’s clear policy to facilitate evacuations from Afghanistan.

“Pakistan’s actions in this context have generated tremendous international goodwill for the country. It is accordingly emphasized again that the process regarding phase-III of humanitarian safe passage may be expedited in order to provide visa-on-arrival facility to Afghan nationals crossing into Pakistan and facilitate the repatriation of Afghans currently residing in Pakistan to their sponsoring countries.

The Federal Cabinet had approved a summary on May 30 submitted by the Interior Ministry for “facility of Safe Passage under Phase-III through Land and Air Routes for Vulnerable Afghans Destined for Third Countries”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to the Interior Ministry on May 10 that the next phase of evacuation operation from Afghanistan through Pakistan to third countries may be conveyed at the earliest.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to the Interior Ministry on May 10 that the US Assistant Secretary of State in a meeting with the Pakistani ambassador has for its continuation along with simplification of border entry procedure.

The German Special Representative in a meeting with the Pakistani ambassador had also raised the issue of evacuation of 152 Afghan nationals and facilitation of Afghans on “Tazkirah” (Identity Cards) at Torkham Border. =DNA