Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday said the government revoked the notification empowering an ambassador to issue visas to foreigners in 2014, amid outcry over issuance of visas to American nationals during the tenure of former Pakistan People’s Party government.
Speaking at a press conference here, Chaudhry Nisar said the government has done enough in the last 2-3 years regarding issuance of visas to foreigners.
He claimed that during the tenure of the former government several foreigners were allowed to enter the country without checking, recalling that he had voiced fears that there are some 300-400 suspected houses in Islamabad.
Earlier this month, Husain Haqqani admitted that with the authorisation of the then elected “civilian leaders” he, as Pakistan’s ambassador to US, had facilitated the presence of large number of CIA operatives in Pakistan to track down Osama bin Laden.
The former ambassador referred to the then president Asif Ali Zardari and prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani as his “civilian leaders”.
A 2010 letter from former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s office raised further questions for the PPP over the then ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani’s controversial powers in granting visas to US officials.
Some foreign nationals roaming in Lahore and Gwadar sans travel documents were apprehended and later freed, but the ex-interior minister didn’t present an explanation on the issue in spite of having promised to do so, Nisar said.
Read: Letter did not authorise visa issuance for US forces involved in Abbottabad raid, says Gilani
“Previously, foreign nationals would enter into Pakistan sans visas, but this is not the case now,” he said. “We decided to separate the Immigration Department from the Federal Investigation Agency and for this an approval by the prime minister has already been availed.”
The minister said the Ministry of Interior has done enough work regarding the issue in last 2-3 years. “We set up a system to prevent wrongdoings in visa issuance and now an online system is being brought for this purpose.”
Nisar said that from now on entire record of a person requesting for visa would be available and even foreign diplomats will be issued visas after complete security clearance.
“I am personally monitoring this matter. No one can now dare stuff foreigners in an airliner and bring them in the country,” he said.
He, however, added that it is the responsibility of the government to take back Pakistani nationals.