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191 countries

ISLAMABAD: The government said on Wednesday that it is now processing visa applications for nationals of 191 countries online, as part of its efforts to enhance the system over the previous year.

The Interior Ministry, led by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, stated in its annual report performance report that in addition to providing online visas, the government has also established a foreign nationals’ security unit to further bolster up the protection of foreigners residing in the country.

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According to the report, the government has also implemented an online exit permit, which may be obtained by foreigners who do not have a valid Pakistani visa.

The report said that creation of the National Crisis Information Management Cell – a primary domestic intelligence assessment and management institution – China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a new visa policy for Chinese nationals working in the CPEC projects, and medical visas are some of the major achievements done by the Ministry of Interior.

Besides, online visas for Muslim citizens of foreign countries who wish to participate in Tabligh (preaching) activities in Pakistan, are also being issued to facilitate those visiting the country.

“Arm licence rules and National Action Plan Secretariat has also been established,” it added.

Besides construction of 93 district courts, it added, 300 parks in capital have also been upgraded, while construction of an extra block of Capital Hospital is also in full swing.

Widening of 10th avenue, and other roads in the capital at a cost Rs12 billion, and Rs6.7 billion, respectively, are also underway.

It said that another milestone of the government is that legal heirs can obtain Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates from the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) without going to courts – a major step to facilitate 50 million families. Issuance of passport within 24 hours, while applying online for passport from 96 countries, it added, is also no more a dream for the Pakistan in and outside the country.

In order to facilitate the expatriate Pakistanis, it added, the government appointed 64 immigration officials at various embassies of Pakistan abroad, while an extension of the passport validity from five years to 10 years with a half fee, has been done.

In Sindh province, 13 new passport centres have been established to facilitate the masses.

Besides digital upgradation, 1,143 new recruitments at the Federal Investigation Agency(FIA) has started, it said, adding 500 more vacancies for Cyber Crime Wing of the FIA, along with a state-of-the-art hardware system, is also being done.

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The recruitment process of 2,000 more policemen for Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police has also started, while 150 motorcycle Eagle squad has also been made operational.

It said that 28 check posts at various roads of the capital have been removed and a dedicated air patrolling unit through drone and locators for live tracking, and surveillance, has been established.

Besides issuance of digital driving licence, and E-challan in capital, a GenderProtection Unit – a 24/7 helpline to ensure speedy justice against crimes such as harassment and domestic abuse – has been established.

Last but not the least, the report said that Rs40 million arrears of martyrs of Islamabad Police have also been paid.

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