Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Friday said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was introducing a new revolutionary visa regime to attract tourism and investment in Pakistan.
Talking to media outside the Parliament House, he said under the new visa policy, one of the major initiatives taken by the present government in past five months, citizens from 175 countries would have e-visa facility while citizens of 50 countries would enjoy visa on arrival facility.
The minister said the new initiative would prove a harbinger of change and become backbone of the Naya Pakistan economy.
He said the cornerstones of PTI government policy were to discourage imports, encourage exports, revive industrialization process and promote tourism in the country.
He said there was great potential to earn foreign exchange through tourism as Pakistan was blessed with a lot of tourists spots and scenic beauty.
He said the policy had been framed in consultations with all the departments concerned and stakeholders.
He said IOTA registered tour operators would be allowed to arrange visits of tourists groups in Pakistan.
The British and US citizens of Indian origin would also get visa on arrival facility, he said adding that business visa facility would be extended to 96 countries from the present 68 countries. Fawad said the diplomatic visa term had been extended to three years while student visa term would be for two years under the new policy.
He said those coming to Pakistan on tourist visa would be allowed to visit all parts of the country including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan without no objection certificate. About journalistic visa, he said the policy was being relaxed and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting would process the visa applications of media persons and the limit of visiting only few cities would also be waived and long term visas also would be issued.
The information minister said the government was also contemplating to revive the major festivals across the country to provide entertainment to the masses and further build the soft image of the country.
He said the government wanted to make tourism the basis of development like Malaysia and Turkey which were earning billions of dollars from this sector.
Later, responding to the question of media persons, he asked the opposition to play its part to run the parliamentary proceedings in a smooth manner as running the House was joint responsibility of the treasury and opposition benches.
He regretted that the Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif was pointing finger towards Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly, vitiating the political environment.
“We respect the Parliament and all the elected representatives but the prime minister, being leader of the House, also deserves due respect.”
The minister said the PML (N) leader Shehbaz Sharif had introduced the culture of extra judicial killings during his tenures as Punjab chief minister, was now criticizing the PTI government on the Sahiwal incident, which unlike Model Town tragedy was not a pre-planned killing.
About Sindh, Fawad Hussain said Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon pay a visit to the province to take stock of the latest situation and evolve a new policy accordingly to provide all possible relief to the people.
Rejecting the recent statements of PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah that the system and the state were in danger, he said political careers of some PPP leaders were at stake who had been caught red-handed in mega money laundering and corruption cases.