Aisha Farouqi appointed new Pak FO spokesperson, denies change in Pak visa policy

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ISLAMABAD: Senior diplomat Aisha Farooqui has been appointed as Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson. She assumed new responsibilities in Islamabad on Thursday. She has replaced Dr Muhammad Faisal, who has been appointed as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany.

Aisha Farooqi is a career diplomat who joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1994. Before taking charge of her new responsibilities, she had been serving as consulate general of Pakistan in Houston, United States. She has also served as Consul at Pakistan High Commission in London Cairo and Ankara.

She has also contributed towards policymaking at important political desks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad. She has served as the Consul General of Pakistan, Houston, USA, September 2016 – August 2019, Minister/Deputy Head of Mission, Pakistan Embassy, Ankara, Turkey, August 2013 – June 2016, Director Americas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, January – July 2013, Director India, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, July 2010 – December 2012, Counsellor, Pakistan High Commission, London, November 2006 – June 2010.

First briefing

Meanwhile, in her first statement issued in Islamabad on Sunday, she rejected reports that Pakistan’s visa policy for residents of ‘India-occupied Kashmir’ had been changed.

“Media reports, which appeared in a section of media, about changes in Pakistani visa for residents of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, are completely baseless and incorrect,” read a statement issued by FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui.

According to the statement, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi “continues to issue visas to residents of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the visa policy of the government and related bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India.”

The High Commission in New Delhi is also “taking into cognisance the peculiar humanitarian situation” that has arisen after August 5 — when India revoked ‘occupied’ Kashmir’s special autonomy through a presidential decree — as it decides on visa applications for residents of the region, the statement added.

“The High Commission is making all efforts to facilitate as much as possible, the genuine visa applicants, particularly those from [India-occupied Kashmir]. Those who fulfil the visa requirements continue to be issued visas as quickly as possible,” the FO statement concluded by saying.