Pakistan approves
visa on arrival
facility for vulnerable
Afghan citizens

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has approved the visa on arrival facility for a safe passage of vulnerable Afghan nationals to their host countries, the Pakistani interior ministry said on Friday.

Pakistan had helped evacuate thousands of people from neighboring Afghanistan after the Taliban took over Kabul in August last year and the United States-led forces completed their withdrawal from the war-torn country.

Pak-Afghan border

Under the new policy, vulnerable Afghan citizens will get visas on arrival in Pakistan to travel to other countries through land and air routes.

“Pakistan will be facilitating the Afghan refugees in transit and traveling to their host countries who have approved their immigration,” Salman Sufi, head of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Strategic Reforms Unit, told Arab News on Friday.

“The Afghans will no longer be required to undergo a lengthy process of first getting Pakistani visa and then travel to their host countries. We are now streamlining the process in collaboration of the countries wishing to grant them visa or residency.”

Sufi said Pakistan would be getting a list of Afghans, whose visas and immigration had been approved from their host countries, to facilitate their smooth travel from across the border for onward journey in up to 36 hours.

Since the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian conditions have gradually deteriorated owing to the freezing of foreign aid and the poor security situation, which has forced thousands of Afghans to seek asylum abroad.

Pakistan is home to nearly 3 million Afghans and out of those, 1.3 million are registered as refugees.