The 2010 letter which had empowered special powers to Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, to issue visas to American nationals and bypass all security protocols in July 2010, was withdrawn in 2014, the interior ministry disclosed on Monday.
“Under the existing policy for official US visitors to Pakistan, the ambassador in Washington is empowered to issue entry visas for restricted periods to US officials who have been recommended in writing by the concerned US authority, i.e. the Department of State and whose duly completed application forms clearly indicate for what purposes they intend to travel to Pakistan”.
“The prime minister has been pleased to decide that the Ambassador in Washington will be empowered, with immediate effect, to issue visas valid up to one year without Embassy having to refer each aforementioned visa applications to the concerned authorities in Pakistan. The Pakistan embassy in US would issue these visas under intimation to the Prime Minister’s office in Islamabad,”
The letter which was sent by the then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, in 2010 was withdrawn in 2014 on the instructions given by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Interior Minister.
However, it is not clear whether the orders issued on July 2010 are still in use or not as Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, disclosed to the Senate the authorization of visas that had been given directly to Haqqani, however, he did not confirm whether this order was now nullified.
NADRA’s Digital Databank to keep an eye on Who is coming to Pakistan
On Monday, the interior minister, also ordered NADRA (National Database Registration Authority), to install a centralized digital databank system for issuance of visas to all foreigners through Pakistan’s diplomatic missions abroad.
He said the implementation of this system will help foreigners secure an online visa appointment for any category. He clarified it would bring much more efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the visa issuance system and keep a check on all foreign visitors traveling to Pakistan.
Mr. Nisar, claimed that a lot has been done in the past three years’ time to guarantee that no alien enters Pakistan without proper documentation. He advised NADRA to quickly develop such a system, with absolutely no room for irregularities.