Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Friday that Pakistan will benefit more from the newly announced changes regarding visa policies and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs).
Speaking in Islamabad about the recent changes to the on-arrival visa policy for the country, the minister said that there is not only an agreement over security requirement, it is also being followed.
“On one hand, we need to complete our security requirements and on the other, facilitate legitimate traffic of tourists, investors and businessmen,” he said. He added that Pakistan has a lot to gain from people of developed countries arriving in Pakistan, but the developed countries have nothing to lose by their people not arriving in the country.
On a question as to why all policies enacted by his predecessor Chaudhry Nisar were being changed, he said: “We are not changing our policies, only rationalising them.”
Nisar and Iqbal had recently been in an argument in the National Assembly over changes made to the government’s policy. Nisar had said he had revoked the visa-on-arrival policy because it had been massively misused in the past, especially during the Musharraf regime.
Amidst desk-thumping by some of the opposition members, he had issued the directives that visa on arrival should be a bilateral affair. He was of the view that if a Pakistani parliamentarian was required to visit the embassy of a country for a visa then MPs of that country should also be required to visit Pakistan’s embassy.
It is easy to say that Japan, United States or Britain’s minister wanting to come to Pakistan will also have to come to Pakistan’s embassy if Pakistan’s ministers have to go to their embassy, Iqbal said on Saturday. He added that if people from the international community do not come to Pakistan, they will lose much less than what Pakistan will lose.