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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Foreign visits of Govt officials restricted to Three, No Five star Hotels

The policy also encourages embassy officers to attend international conferences whenever possible.

The federal government has introduced a new foreign travel policy that imposes restrictions on federal minsters  and government officials traveling abroad. This policy, issued by the Cabinet Division in line with decisions made by the federal cabinet, aims to ensure prudence and accountability in official foreign visits.

Under the new policy, officials must seek permission from the austerity committee before traveling abroad, except in unavoidable circumstances. Moreover, officials are prohibited from staying in five-star hotels during their foreign trips. The policy specifies that federal ministers, ministers of state, advisers, and assistants are allowed a maximum of three foreign visits per year, with the possibility of extensions in special cases.

Furthermore, the policy prohibits support staff from traveling abroad and mandates that ministers and their secretaries cannot travel abroad simultaneously unless under unavoidable circumstances. Any exemption from these rules requires permission from the prime minister.

Ministry of FO & Commerce exempted 

Notably, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce are exempt from these restrictions. Additionally, all government divisions must obtain a no-objection certificate from the Economic Affairs Division for visits to international financial institutions

The policy also encourages embassy officers to attend international conferences whenever possible. Travel facilities for officials vary based on their positions, with first-class facilities for higher-ranking officials like the president, chief justice, and services chiefs, while business class is authorized for the prime minister, chairman senate, and speaker National Assembly.

Moreover, federal government officers are permitted to travel in economy class for foreign trips, with an emphasis on prioritizing Pakistan International Airline (PIA) for overseas travel. The policy advises cabinet members to avoid foreign and domestic travel during parliamentary sessions and mandates the submission of all foreign trip details to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within 15 days.

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Additionally, officials are instructed not to engage with countries that Pakistan has severed diplomatic relations with, obtain permission to visit India, discourage hosting foreign companies, and allow visits by experts and consultants only during bilateral discussions, as outlined in the documents.